California Wage and Hour Laws 

California Wage and Hour Laws 

California Wage and Hour Laws 

When taking employment law into consideration it can be said that California may be one of the most protective states in the country when it comes to employee rights. Such employment laws cover aspects with regards to employee discrimination and harassment, up to when an employee must be paid and what information an employer has to provide with an employee’s paycheck. This article will discuss employment laws on wage and hour laws that govern the employment relationship with regards to compensation in the state of California.


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Wage and hour laws provide basic standards for payment and time worked by employees. These laws also cover issues relating to:

  • Minimum wages
  • Overtime
  • Meal ad rest breaks
  • Tips
  • When employees must be paid
  • Items employers must pay for, etc.

Wage and Hour Laws: Payday Laws

Employees have the right to be paid at least twice a month. Such compensation payment must be paid between the 1st and the 15th of the month but no later than the 26th. Any compensation that is earned after the 16th of the month to the end of the month must be paid no later than the 10th of the following month. Depending on the earnings schedule, employers pay employees weekly, every fortnight or twice a month; this would be in compliance with the payday laws. However, some exceptions exist with these laws when pertaining to certain types of employees. For example, professional, administrative and executive employees may be paid only once a month as long as such payment is made by the 26th of the month. Their paychecks must include their entire salary for that month.


Wage and Hour Laws: Paychecks

It is a requirement by state law that employers itemize written statements with every paycheck. Such a statement must include the following information:

  • Total gross wages earned for the pay period
  • Total hours worked for the pay period
  • Number of units and rates for work performed
  • All deductions to wages
  • Net pay
  • Dates for the pay period
  • The employee’s name and the last four digits of their Social Security number
  • The employer’s full name and address
  • All hourly rates used for the pay period and rates per hours worked 


Wage and Hour Laws: Payroll Records

The law allots rights to an employee to request their payroll records for examination. Such records must be provided within a 21-day period from the initial request. Failure by the employer to provide the employee with such records may attract a penalty of $750. However, it must be noted that the employer may charge the employee reasonable copying costs to provide the employee with a copy of their payroll records. 


Wage and Hour Laws: Minimum Wages

As with all other states, the state of California has a minimum wage requirement. In 2020, the minimum wage for employers with up to 25 employees is $12.00 and $13.00 for those with 26 or more employees. 

When it comes to employees who receive tips, the California law entitles tipped employees to receive the full minimum wage for every hour worked. 

Wage and Hour Laws: Overtime

An area that is of contention is that of overtime, many employers feel an employee is not entitled to overtime while the employee feels that they are. Being entitled to overtime is dependent upon state law, your job duties and how many hours the employee has worked. Generally, determining if your employer has to pay overtime is covered by the federal Fair 

Labor Standards Act which sets out the overtime rules. Additionally, California and some local governments have laws that cover overtime laws under their own wage and hour laws specific to the state. In accordance with state law, employees are eligible to receive overtime if they work more than eight hours a day or forty hours a week. An employee receives overtime at the rate of 1.5 (time and a half) or 2.0 (double time). The time and a half rate means your usual hourly rate has an added 50% overtime premium to it for every hour you work. Double time means that your usual hourly rate has an added 100% overtime premium for every hour worked. When the employee works twelve hours a day he or she is entitled to overtime at the rate of double time. If the employee works on a seventh day, he or she is entitled to time and a half for the first eight hours worked and double time for any additional hours thereafter. 

That being said, it must be noted that not every job type is eligible for overtime. Some employees who are exempt from the law governing overtime payment include the following:

  • Execs, administrative and professional employees
  • Independent contractor
  • Volunteers
  • Outside sales persons
  • Seasonal amusement or recreational business employees, e.g. ski resorts
  • Newspaper deliverers
  • Seamen
  • Fishing operations employees
  • Small farm employees
  • Criminal investigators
  • Casual domestic babysitters

With regards to execs, administrative and professional employees, the overtime law does not apply as such employees are paid on a salary basis. Further, it is a requirement of their jobs to spend most of their time performing their duties using their discretion and independent judgement. 


For unpaid overtime laws in California  contact a law firm of employment lawyers.