Back to News

What are California Minimum Wage Laws?

If your employer has failed to pay you the state minimum wage for your hours worked, you may be entitled to compensation. Best of all, you can recover the minimum wage rates you are owed in a wage and hour lawsuit with the help of a California employment lawyer who specializes in state law and minimum wage laws.

If the wages owed violation affects numerous other employees in your workplace besides just you, a wage and hour class action lawsuit may also be appropriate.

A class action lawsuit is when an employment lawyer represents a group of employees, otherwise known as a class, to protect their California minimum wage interests under the California law labor code. A minimum wage law lawyer, like the ones at Lawyers for Justice, PC, will fight to get clients paid for each hour worked and recoup their owed wages.

See More Videos on Our YouTube Channel

Minimum wage in California as of 2024

The minimum wage in California, effective January 1, 2024, is $16.00/hour for all employers. Fast Food Restaurant employers, effective April 1, 2024, and Healthcare Facility employers, effective June 1, 2024, will have a higher minimum wage.. However, some cities and counties in California, particularly Los Angeles County, that have a higher minimum wage.

For example, in the City of Los Angeles as of January 1st, 2021, the minimum wage was $15.00 per hour (or $14.25 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees). The minimum wage is set to increase on a yearly basis.

For more information on minimum wage law in California, visit the Department of Industrial Relations.

Statewide minimum wage increases tied to inflation

Since 2017, the statewide minimum wage has increased in every industry according to the legislation imposed by former governor of California, Jerry Brown, and his administration. However, due to the inflation impacting Californians in recent months, many are calling for California’s minimum wage laws to increase in order to afford the higher cost of living. Many residents are calling for higher minimum wage pay per hour – both for smaller employers and larger corporations.


Minimum Wage For Tipped Employees

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers in the state of California are required to pay tipped workers the state minimum wage of $16 per hour.

How does minimum wage affect exempt employees?

Different types of employees may not be eligible to benefit from higher minimum wage increases. Exempt employees are usually paid a salary and therefore, are not affected by California’s state minimum wage laws.

California employers can choose whether to hire their employees on a salary basis or at least a state minimum wage rate. Exempt employees are not eligible to participate in California minimum wage changes, especially if they earn an annual salary that exceeds minimum hourly wage an employer is expected to pay.

Non-exempt employees who are paid per hour, however, must receive the local minimum wage amount for full time employment.

Is It Illegal To Pay Under Minimum Wage? – FAQ

what is a minimum hourly rate? The minimum wage per hour California employers must pay their workers is $16 per hour.

when does minimum wage go up in california? Minimum wages increased under California law in 2024 to provide higher minimum wages and a “living wage” to California employees.

is it illegal to pay under minimum wage? Clerical workers, health care workers, restaurant servers: all are required to be paid the state’s minimum wage under California minimum wage laws. Even if a worker agrees to be paid less than minimum wage, minimum wage law does not allow for a worker to be paid less per hour than the state minimum wage rate.

can an employer lower your pay in california? Generally, it is legal for an employer to lower a California employee’s salary, as long as they do not reduce it below the California minimum wage rate ($16 per hour as of 2024). If an employment agreement stipulates that an employee’s salary cannot decrease however, then lowering a higher wage is unlawful.

who is exempt from minimum wage laws? There are some employees who are exempt from the minimum wage law, such as outside salespeople, employees who are the parent, spouse, or child of their employer, and apprentices regularly indentured under the State Division of Apprenticeship Standards.

did minimum wage go up in california? As of 2024, there was a minimum wage increase in California. The overall minimum wage rate is now $16 an hour, which is an increase from $15.50. California’s minimum wages are the second-highest statewide minimum in the nation, behind only Washington at $16.28 (the District of Columbia’s is higher still, at $17 an hour)

is it illegal to pay less than minimum wage in california? All employers must pay minimum wage to California employees. If local minimum wage ordinances are violated, workers are entitled to file a wage claim to recover wages for what they are owed.

Are you being paid California’s minimum wage?

If you are not being paid minimum wage for your work, call Lawyers for Justice, PC today at 818-647-9323 or visit us online at

Attorney advertisement by Edwin Aiwazian of Lawyers For Justice, PC, headquartered at 410 Arden Avenue, Glendale, CA 91203