An employer cannot pay an employee less than the highest applicable minimum wage. In July of 2009, the federal minimum wage rose to $7.25 per hour. The States are permitted to set their own minimum wages.
In January of 2022, California’s minimum wage rose to $14.00 per hour for employers of 25 or less and $15.00 per hour for employers of 26 or more. It rose to $15.00 per hour for employers of 25 or less in January of 2023. On January 1, 2024, the minimum wage for the State of California rose to $16.00 per hour. Fast food workers in California currently must earn at least $15.50 pr hour. On April 1, 2024, the California minimum wage for fast food workers will increase to $20.00 per hour. For more information on this subject, visit this site. Certain California healthcare workers must earn at least $21.00 per hour from June 1, 2024, $23.00 per hour from June 1, 2026, and $25.00 per hour from June 1, 2028. For more information on this subject, visit this site.
The California State minimum wage rates also control the minimum wages that employers must pay employees they classify as exempt from overtime and rest and meal breaks. An employer must pay such workers at least two times the minimum wage. So, for a California employer obligated to pay a non-exempt healthcare worker $20.00 per hour, the minimum wage for such a worker paid by salary and classified as exempt must be no less than $83,200.00 ($20.00 minimum wage per hour x 40 hours per week * 52 weeks per year * 2 = $83,200.00).
Several California cities require higher minimum wages: The minimum wage for the City of Los Angeles increased to $16.04 per hour on July 1, 2022 for all workers who perform at least two hours of work in any given week. As of January of 2024, the minimum wage for the City of Los Angeles is $16.78. On July 1, 2024, this will rise to $17.27 per hour. However, as of July 1, 2023, employers in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County must pay $16.90 per hour. For more information about the local minimum wage rate for cities and counties in California, please visit the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center here.
As of January 1, 2024, New York City’s minimum wage is $16.00 per hour and $10.35 per hour for tipped service workers and $10.65 for food service workers. For more information on this subject, please visit this site.
At The Spivak Law Firm, we are committed to protecting the interests of employees across California in receiving at least minimum wages for all hours worked. We have substantial experience litigating minimum wage claims for employees who are forced to work off the clock, perform work without pay before and after their shifts, remain on-call or on standby without pay, undergo training and orientations without pay, and work during unpaid meal periods. Our team can also assist you if you have been retaliated against for complaining about minimum wage violations. Our lawyers have over 25 years of legal experience and are always prepared to forcefully litigate these claims. We only get paid when you do, and we will fight to secure every dime you deserve when your employer has treated you unfairly.
In January of 2022, California’s minimum wage rose to $14.00 per hour for employers of 25 or less and $15.00 per hour for employers of 26 or more. It will rise to $15.00 per hour for employers of 25 or less in January of 2023. Several Californias cities require higher minimum wages: Los Angeles and Santa Monica require $15.00 per hour, Berkeley and San Francisco require $16.32 per hour, San Jose requires $16.24 per hour, and West Hollywood requires $17.64 per hour for hotel employees. The minimum wage for the City of Los Angeles will increase to $16.04 per hour on July 1, 2022 for all workers who perform at least two hours of work in any given week.
A California employee cannot voluntarily waive his or her right to be paid the minimum wage. If you signed an employment contract that holds you to a pay rate that is lower than the minimum wage for your locality, the contract is not enforceable.
In California, even “tipped” employees, including restaurants servers and parking attendants, are entitled to the minimum wage for all hours worked regardless of what they earn in tips.
Independent contractors are not subject to California’s minimum wage laws, but an employer cannot misclassify an employee as an independent contractor. If you suspect you may have been misclassified as a means of circumventing minimum wage laws, do not wait to get in touch with our legal team.
If your employer fails to follow California’s minimum wage laws, you are entitled to the compensation you have been wrongfully denied and may also be owed substantial monetary penalties and interest. You have the right to file a lawsuit against your employer to recover such remedies. You can also choose to file a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office.
Our team at The Spivak Law Firm can file claims on your behalf to recover:
- The difference between what you were paid and the minimum wage, plus interest
- Liquidated damages, statutory penalties, and civil penalties
- Attorney fees and costs
If your employer violates the minimum wage laws toward many of its employees, it may make sense to consider a class-action lawsuit. In a class action, an employees who chooses to serve as a class representative can sue on behalf of him or herself and the other underpaid employees for monetary remedies.
Your employer cannot lawfully fire you or retaliate against you for objecting to minimum wage violations. If you were wrongfully terminated or experienced any adverse action after making a minimum wage complaint or lawsuit, our California lawyers can prosecute your claims for additional legal remedies such as compensation damages for future lost wages and emotional distress and humiliation.