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Wage and hour information for California employees

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Employment Law |

Navigating the landscape of employment laws in California can be daunting for employees, especially when it comes to understanding particularly complex aspects of employment law.

Yet, even when they aren’t so easy to understand at a glance, it can be comforting to know that California is known for its progressive labor laws, designed to protect workers and ensure fair compensation for their time and effort.

Minimum wage in California

California sets its minimum wage above the federal standard, reflecting the state’s commitment to providing workers with livable wages. As of January 1, 2024, the minimum wage for all employers is set at $16 per hour. Some cities and counties in California have enacted their minimum wage ordinances. Additionally, on April 1, fast-food employees will have a higher minimum wage. On June 1, healthcare workers will have a higher minimum wage.

Overtime pay

Employees are entitled to overtime pay when they work:

  • More than eight hours in a single workday
  • More than 40 hours in a workweek
  • First eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek

Overtime is paid at one and a half times the employee’s regular pay rate. Employees earn double time for working more than 12 hours in a single day or more than eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of work in a week.

Rest periods

Generally, employees should be given a 10-minute paid rest period for every four hours of work or a significant fraction of that time. If an employer fails to provide a rest period, the employee is entitled to one hour of pay at their regular rate for each workday for which the rest period wasn’t provided.

Meal periods

Meal periods are also mandated by California law. Employees who work more than five hours a day are entitled to a 30-minute unpaid meal break, which should start before the end of the fifth hour of work. For those working over 10 hours daily, a second 30-minute meal break is required, but it can be waived if the shift is under 12 hours and the first meal period isn’t waived by mutual consent.

Employees who don’t receive proper pay or breaks should learn their legal options. Working with a legal representative familiar with these matters can help these employees get the pay they’re due.