California, like other states, sets a minimum wage that employers must pay their employees. Failure to pay the required wages is a serious offense, and workers might be entitled to back pay. Read on for more information about California’s minimum wage laws.
The Current Minimum Wage in California
California actually sets two minimum wages—one that applies to small businesses and one that applies to larger business. As of 2018, the minimum wage is as follows:
- $10.50 for employers with 25 or fewer employers
- $11.00 for employers with 26 or more employees
California’s minimum wage increases on the first of the year. In the next few years, the wage will be the following:
- $12.00 on January 1, 2019 for employers with 26 or more employees
- $13.00 on January 1, 2020 for employers with 26 or more employees
- $14.00 on January 1, 2021 for employers with 26 or more employees
- $11.00 on January 1, 2019 for employers with 25 or fewer employees
- $12.00 on January 1, 2020 for employers with 25 or fewer employees
- $13.00 on January 1, 2021 for employers with 25 or fewer employees
Those are California’s statewide minimum wages. Depending on the county or city in which you live, there could be a higher minimum wage than the statewide requirement. If you have questions, let us know.
Tips and the California Minimum Wage
Unlike other states, California does not let employers pay a subminimum wage to employees who receive tips, such as waitresses and waiters. Instead, all employees must receive at least the minimum.
The law also does not allow employers to take tips earned by their employees. Tips belong to the worker, though an employer can require that employees pool all or a portion of their tips. After pooling, an employer will distribute them according to set criteria.
Paying Less than the Minimum Wage Law in California
California law allows employers to sometimes pay less than the minimum wage. For example:
- Disabled workers. An employer can pay an employee with disabilities less than the minimum wage but must have a license from the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to do so. Paying a subminimum wage is seen as a way to incentivize hiring disabled workers.
- A trainee (or “learner”) can receive 85% of the standard minimum wage, but not less, for the first 160 hours. A trainee must have no prior experience in the field.
- An employer can pay an apprentice less than the standard minimum wage. Apprentice wages are set by the Industrial Welfare Commission.
However, California does not allow employers to pay non-trainee learners or student learners less than the minimum wage. Employers should also not try to illegally classify someone as a trainee when they have experience in the field.
Do You Have Questions about California’s Minimum Wage Laws? Call Us
The lawyers at the Workplace Rights Law Group have helped countless employees get the wages they deserve, and we are here to answer any questions you might have about the minimum wage laws in California. To speak to us, please call or submit an online message.