Is It Legal to Be Paid Less Than Minimum Wage in California?Whether you are getting your first job or starting a new one, it is essential to know that what your new employer is paying you is not only fair but legal. The minimum wage is the minimum hourly pay that almost all employees must be paid in California as required by the law. In California, the minimum wage rate depends on the size of the business and the location. 

If you believe you are getting paid less than minimum wage and are concerned that what your employer is doing is illegal, the leading California employment lawyers at Blackstone Law can help you determine if you are owed more. 

What Is California’s Minimum Wage?

In the United States, the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour for all covered employees unless employed in a state that has set a higher minimum wage. In California, the minimum wage became effective in 2017 which would increase on a yearly basis. As of January of 2021, the minimum wage stands at $13 an hour for businesses with 25 employees or less and $14 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees. 

Are There Local Minimum Wage Rates in California?

Yes. The California Constitution authorizes local governments to set their own minimum wage which may be higher than that of the state minimum wage. Some California cities that have enacted this right are:

  • Oakland: $14.14 per hour
  • Los Angeles: $15.00 per hour for companies with more than 25 employees, $14.25 for smaller businesses
  • San Diego: $13.00 per hour regardless of employer size
  • San Francisco: $16.07 per hour 
  • San Jose: $15.25 per hour 

If you feel confused about the rate your California employer is paying you, an experienced employment lawyer will be able to advise on how much you should be getting in compensation for your work.

It Is Illegal for California Employers to Pay Less Than Minimum Wage?

If you are considered a covered employee by California law and your employer is paying you less than minimum wage, it is illegal. Even if you, as the employee, initially agreed to work for less, it is California law that your employer must pay you at least minimum wage. If your employer continues to pay you lower than the minimum legal rate of pay, then seek the legal advice of an employment attorney with an extensive understanding of California’s labor and employment laws. 

Are You a Covered Employee in California?

While the minimum wage laws cover nearly all California employees, certain groups of people are exceptions to the rule and are subjected to a lower pay rate, and in some cases, no wages at all:

  • Outside sales employees
  • Certain non-profit employees
  • Immediate family members of an employer
  • Camp employees
  • Disabled employees
  • Learners

If you do not fall into the category of any of the above uncovered California employees but are still not adequately paid by your employer, then you should consider contacting a California employment lawyer to help you get what you are legally owed. 

California Employment Lawyers Can Help You

If you are a covered employee in the State of California, then you are legally owed the set minimum wage rate for the city you live in. The talented employment lawyers at Blackstone Law know what state and federal laws are in place to ensure you get fair compensation, and we hope to help you achieve that. 

Our experienced legal team has been featured in publications like Business Insider and The Hollywood Reporter for their extensive knowledge of California employment law. Pursuing each case with aggressive representation and passionate advocacy provides our clients with the top-of-the-line service they deserve. For a free case consultation, contact us here or call (310) 956-4054.