Wage & Overtime
California and federal law regulates the way employers must pay your wages and what rights you have during each workday. California employment law and federal law each provide employees with various legal rights. Our experienced lawyers can help employees determine whether they have a legal right to recovery.
California Minimum Wage Law
California’s minimum wage for most employees is $10.50 hour. There are exceptions for outside salespeople, certain apprentices, and a parent, spouse, or child of the employer. Cities within California have different minimum wage based on cost of living.
California Overtime Law
California law mandates overtime pay for work over eight hours per workday or forty hours per workweek.
California Mandated Employee Meal Periods
California law also regulates employee meal periods:
- An employee must have a minimum thirty-minute meal period prior to completing five hours of work.
- If the workday is less than six hours, the meal period may be waived by mutual consent.
- If the workday is longer than ten hours, a second meal period must be provided, unless the workday is less than twelve hours and the first meal period was not waived.
- If an employee is not permitted to leave the employer's premises and not relieved of his or her duties, the meal period is considered “on duty” and must be paid at the employee's pay rate.
California Paydays and Final Wages
California law requires payment of wages at least twice a month on designated paydays. Employees who submit 72 hours notice of quitting must be paid their wages and accrued vacation when quitting. Employees who have not given 72 hours notice must receive final wages and accrued vacation within 72 hours of quitting. A discharged employee must be paid wages, and accrued vacation immediately when terminated.
Required Employee Rest Periods in California
Employees who qualify must receive a ten-minute rest period for every four hours worked. If an employee is not given the rest period, an employer must pay the employee one hour of wages for each workday the rest period is not provided.
California Vacation Law
California law does not require an employer to give paid or unpaid vacation, but if an employer has a vacation policy, there are rules governing it. Vacation pay is considered wages, cannot be forfeited and is to be paid at termination or departure. Employers may have vacation pay earned according to the hours an employee works. Time may accrue daily, weekly or monthly. An employer may delay an employee from earning vacation pay until a set period of time has passed, for example probationary or introductory periods.