Minimum Wage in California

Wage & Hour Laws August 20th, 2019
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What is California’s Minimum Wage?


As of the date of this article’s last update (July 29, 2020), California’s statewide minimum wage is $13 per hour in businesses with 26 or more employees and $12 per hour in businesses with 25 or less employees.

California Wage & Hour Laws govern certain important aspects of the professional relationship between employers and employees, covering issues like minimum wage, tip wage, hours worked and tip sharing and pooling, and provide important protections for workers’ wages and hours. If you have been the victim of a wage violation in California, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of a reputable California employment law attorney. Our California minimum wage lawyers at Davtyan Law Firm can help you understand your rights under the law, determine if you have a valid claim and develop a strong strategy to represent your case.


Minimum Wage in California


Federal wage and hour laws in the United States are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), but most states also have their own wage and hour laws, including California. Although California employers are required to comply with federal minimum wage laws, they must ultimately follow the law that results in employees being paid the higher wage. In most cases in California, the state minimum wage requirement will apply, as it generally guarantees a higher wage rate for employees than federal law.


Cities and Counties in California with increased Minimum Wage


Across the state of California, aside for the California state minimum wage, there are also about 30 cities and counties that have wage levels above the amount mandated by the state. Those localities include:

  • Berkeley
  • Cupertino
  • El Cerrito
  • Emeryville
  • Los Altos
  • Los Angeles
    1. City of Los Angeles Minimum Wage Ordinance
    2. Los Angeles Living Wage Ordinance (LWO)
    3. Los Angeles Hotel Worker Minimum Wage Ordinance
    4. County of Los Angeles
  • Malibu
  • Milpitas
  • Mountain View
  • Oakland
  • Palo Alto
  • Pasadena
  • Richmond
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • San Leandro
  • San Mateo
  • Santa Clara
  • Santa Monica
  • Sunnyvale


Understanding “Hours Worked”


Under California minimum wage law, employers are required to pay non-exempt employees for all hours worked, which includes any time an employee is required to be on duty, on the employer’s premises or at a prescribed workplace. This means you, as a California employee, are entitled to wages for the following:

  • Any time spent working during a scheduled break
  • Any time spent putting on necessary protective gear or otherwise preparing for labor
  • Any time spent traveling in the course of your employment, such as driving to another office or location (not commute time)
  • Any authorized or unauthorized overtime, so long as your employer knows or should know you are working (more about Overtime Pay in California)
  • Any off-the-clock work performed before the beginning of your scheduled shift or after the end of your scheduled shift


Contact a Knowledgeable California Minimum Wage Attorney


California wage and hour laws rank among the toughest in the country, often going beyond the federal standard to protect employees from unfair employment practices. Still, some employers in California violate these laws, sometimes intentionally, to avoid paying employees the wages they deserve, and far too many employees are unaware of their rights under the law. If your employer fails to pay you the required minimum wage rate or refuses to pay you for all hours you have worked, you may have grounds for legal recourse. Contact an experienced California wage attorney today to discuss the possibility of filing a minimum wage claim against your employer.

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