What Is the Minimum Wage in California?

The state of California has specific minimum wage requirements. Many cities and counties have set their own minimum wages as well. Unless an exemption applies, employers must abide by the law or face serious consequences. Below, we’ll look at the minimum wage in California and how to proceed if you’re not being fairly compensated for your work.

California’s Latest Minimum Wage Law

In 2022, California’s minimum wage was raised to $15.00 per hour for employers with 26 or more workers. For those with 25 employees or less, it was raised to $14.00 per hour. The minimum wage for all industries will be increased annually, as became effective on January 1, 2017, for employers with 26+ employees. By January 1, 2023, the minimum wage is projected to increase to $15.50 per hour. 

*For companies with fewer workers, the increase will be delayed by a year. 

Who Is Exempt from Earning the Minimum Wage in California?

Various types of employees are exempt from the law. They include:

  • Salespersons who work outside their employers.
  • Individuals who are the parent, spouse, or child of the employer.
  • Apprentices indentured under the State Division of Apprenticeship Standards.
  • Learners, who must be paid not less than 85% of the minimum wage.
  • Mentally or physically disabled employees who work for nonprofit organizations.

Minimum Wage Order (MW-2022) requires that, for learners, payment in relation to the minimum wage be rounded to the nearest nickel. Learners must also have no previous experience in the occupation, and the rule pertains to only the first 160 hours of employment. To exempt a disabled individual from earning minimum wage at, for example, a rehabilitation center or sheltered workshop, the employer must be licensed and authorized by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

Minimum Wage in California Cities

On July 1, 2022, the minimum wage in Los Angeles County and 12 cities was increased. Here is what employees in the following locations must earn:

  • Alameda: $15.75 per hour.
  • Berkeley: $16.99 per hour.
  • Fremont: $16.00 per hour, for all employers.
  • Los Angeles (City): $16.04 per hour (for hotels with 150 or more rooms, it’s $18.86 per hour. Per an approved ordinance, the requirements would extend to hotels with 60 or more rooms).
  • Los Angeles (County): $15.96 per hour.
  • Pasadena: $16.11 per hour.
  • San Francisco: $16.99 per hour. For Government Supported Employees, $15.03 per hour.
  • Santa Monica: $15.96 per hour; $18.17 per hour for hotels and businesses on their properties.
  • Malibu: $15.96 per hour.
  • West Hollywood: $16.50 per hour for businesses with 50 or more employees; for those with 50 or fewer, it’s $16.00 per hour (hotel workers must earn at least $18.35 per hour).
  • Emeryville: $17.68 per hour.
  • Foster City: $15.75 per hour.
  • Milpitas: $16.40 per hour.

How Do I File a Wage Claim?

If your employer isn’t paying at least the minimum wage in California, You can file a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) or file a lawsuit against your employer. When you file a DLSE wage claim, a hearing or conference will be scheduled, or the claim may be dismissed. At a hearing, parties and witnesses testify under oath in a recorded proceeding, after which the Labor Commission will serve the parties with an Order, Decision, or Award.

There are options if one of these doesn’t go in your favor. You can attempt to collect the judgment on your own. If your employer retaliated or discriminated against you for inquiring about your wages or filing a claim, you can go to the Labor Commissioner’s Office with a discrimination/retaliation complaint. You can also file a lawsuit.

Call Jacob for Help with a Minimum Wage Claim

Our Los Angeles attorneys specialize in filing claims and ensuring you get the compensation you deserve. We provide professional representation if your claim goes to court. Familiar with the latest changes to minimum wages in California, our team is ready to assist you. Continue browsing to learn more about our services and the areas we serve. To request your free consultation, call 888-952-2952 today!

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