California Minimum Wage



Quick Summary

The minimum wage in California is $8.00 per hour.

Law Review

Minimum Wage

Most employees in California must be paid at least $8.00 per hour.

Application of Federal Law

Employers in California are subject to both federal and state minimum wage requirements. However, since California law is stricter and requires a higher wage, the California minimum wage must be paid.

Employees Cannot Agree To Work For Less

Although some employees may desire to work for less than the minimum wage in order to secure employment, any agreement to work for less than the minimum wage is against public policy and is void. Even if such an agreement exists, the employer must pay the employee the required minimum wage.

Restaurant Tips

Restaurant tips cannot be used by the restaurant as a substitute for, or as a credit towards, the minimum wage to be paid the employee.

Labor Code section 351:

No employer or agent shall collect, take, or receive any gratuity or a part thereof that is paid, given to, or left for an employee by a patron, or deduct any amount from wages due an employee on account of a gratuity, or require an employee to credit the amount, or any part thereof, of a gratuity against and as a part of the wages due the employee from the employer. Every gratuity is hereby declared to be the sole property of the employee or employees to whom it was paid, given, or left for. An employer that permits patrons to pay gratuities by credit card shall pay the employees the full amount of the gratuity that the patron indicated on the credit card slip, without any deductions for any credit card payment processing fees or costs that may be charged to the employer by the credit card company. Payment of gratuities made by patrons using credit cards shall be made to the employees not later than the next regular payday following the date the patron authorized the credit card payment.

Exceptions to the Minimum Wage Law

Training Employees

An exception to the minimum wage exists for learners, who may be paid not less than 85% of the minimum wage rounded to the nearest nickel during their first 160 hours of employment. A learner is someone in an occupation in which they have no previous similar or related experience. A learner can be any age and is not limited to teenagers.

Outside Salespersons

Outside salespersons are not subject to California's minimum wage law.

Parent, Spouse, or Child of Employer

Parents, spouses, and children of employers are not subject to California's minimum wage law.

Babysitters

Minors who babysit minor children in the employer's home are not subject to California's minimum wage law.

Handicapped Persons

Labor Code section 1191

For any occupation in which a minimum wage has been established, the commission may issue to an employee who is mentally or physically handicapped, or both, a special license authorizing the employment of the licensee for a period not to exceed one year from date of issue, at a wage less than the legal minimum wage. The commission shall fix a special minimum wage for the licensee. Such license may be renewed on a yearly basis.

Nonprofits Hiring Handicapped Persons

Labor Code section 1191.5

Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 1191, the commission may issue a special license to a nonprofit organization such as a sheltered workshop or rehabilitation facility to permit the employment of employees who have been determined by the commission to meet the requirements in Section 1191 without requiring individual licenses of such employees. The commission shall fix a special minimum wage for such employees. The special license for the nonprofit corporation shall be renewed on a yearly basis, or more frequently as determined by the commission.

Camp Employees

Labor Code section 1182.4:

(a) No student employee, camp counselor, or program counselor of an organized camp shall be subject to a minimum wage or maximum hour order of the commission if the student employee, camp counselor, or program counselor receives a weekly salary of at least 85 percent of the minimum wage for a 40-hour week, regardless of the number of hours per week the student employee, camp counselor, or program counselor might work at the organized camp. If the student employee, camp counselor, or program counselor works less than 40 hours per week, the student employee, camp counselor, or program counselor shall be paid at least 85 percent of the minimum hourly wage for each hour worked.

(b) An organized camp may deduct the value of meals and lodging from the salary of a student employee, camp counselor, or program counselor pursuant to appropriate orders of the commission.

(c) As used in this section, "organized camp" means an organized camp, as defined in Section 18897 of the Health and Safety Code, which meets the standards of the American Camping Association.

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