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Home » Blog » California Minimum Wage Law [2024 Updated]

California Minimum Wage Law [2024 Updated]

Posted on April 7, 2024 | By Omid Nosrati | Wage & Hour Laws

If you are an employee in California, you need to be informed of the California minimum wage law. As of April 1st, 2024, the minimum wage requirement for several employers in California was raised to $20 an hour. This is much higher than the federal minimum wage requirement of $7.25. As a California employee, it’s important that you have an understanding of the minimum wage requirements in your state. That way, you can hold your employer accountable if need be.

Requirement to Be Exempt

Not every employee in California is subject to the minimum wage law. When determining exemption status, it is the responsibility of the employer to provide evidence backing the status of their employees. For an employee to be exempt from the minimum wage requirements, there are a few specific requirements that must be met.

  • If the employee spends more than half of their time on the clock performing duties and tasks that are considered exempt, then that employee may be considered an exempt employee.
  • The employee must not earn a salary that is less than twice the state minimum wage for full-time employment. As per the state’s 2024 guidelines, the formula for calculating this is two times California’s minimum wage, which is $20 an hour, multiplied by the number of hours in a full-time work year, which is 2,080. This applies to employers that have more than 26 employees.
  • Internal salespersons can be considered exempt if they make over 150% of the state minimum wage and more than half of their earnings come from commissions.

Industries Affected Most

The minimum wage increase that was brought into effect on April 1st was targeted mainly at the fast food industry. Under Assembly Bill No. 1228, fast food employees working for food chains that have over sixty establishments are entitled to the new $20 per hour minimum wage requirement. This law is in an attempt to set new standards for working conditions in the fast food industry in California.

The healthcare industry may be the next industry to be impacted by upcoming minimum wage requirement changes. With a target date of June 1st, 2024, healthcare employees could start to see a progressive increase in their wages. Depending on the type of healthcare facility and the nature of the work being done, wages could range from $18 to $23 per hour.

Laws that aim to increase this minimum wage seek to highlight the critical nature of healthcare services. It also reflects California’s commitment to ensuring that there is fair compensation for essential workers.


Q: Is California Raising the Minimum Wage to $20 an Hour?

A: California raised the minimum wage to $20 an hour, effective on April 1st, 2024. This new minimum wage can cover any employee who works for a fast food restaurant or any other employer that pays out minimum wage. Economists disagree on the long-term ramifications of this change. Some economists argue that it is good for the California state economy, while other economists argue that it will lead to California employers raising their prices on the end customer.

Q: Who Is Exempt From California Minimum Wage?

A: There are several people who can be exempt from California minimum wage laws. These can include:

  • Salespersons who earn a commission
  • Individuals who are family members of the employer, such as their parent, spouse, or child
  • Apprentices who are regularly indentured under the State Division of Apprenticeship Standards

There are also some exemptions for employees who are physically or mentally disabled. If you have further questions regarding who is exempt from California’s minimum wage requirement, you should speak with a wage and hour lawyer.

Q: Can an Employer Pay Less Than Minimum Wage in California?

A: An employer in California cannot pay less than the minimum wage. There are some exemptions that could apply, but they only happen in rare instances. Most California employers are subject to both the state and federal minimum wage law requirements.

It should also be noted that some local entities, such as cities and countries, can enact their own minimum wage requirements to establish a higher minimum wage rate. Due to this multiple coverage by different government entities, the employer is required to follow the stricter standard.

Q: What Is the Lowest Wage an Employer Is Allowed to Pay?

A: The lowest wage an employer is allowed to pay is the minimum wage. The minimum wage in the state of California is $20 an hour as of April 1st, 2024. It is important to consider that the federal minimum wage rate is $7.25 an hour. This rate of pay is required to be paid for work performed, regardless of whether the employee is paid by the hour, the day, or at some form of piece rate. The Wage and Hour Division ensures that minimum wage requirements are met.

Q: Who Enforces the Minimum Wage in California?

A: The California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) enforces the minimum wage in California. This entity is responsible for holding employers accountable to the minimum wage standards across the state. Employers who violate the minimum wage requirements may be legally required to pay back wages, interest, and possible damages to any employees affected. If you believe that your employer owes you wages from minimum wage violations or unpaid overtime, you should engage the help of an attorney.

Legal Advice When You Need It

As an employee in the state of California, it is important that you are up to date with the minimum wage requirements in the state. Employers are required to abide by these standards and if they violate them, then you may be entitled to seek legal action against your employer to recover lost or unpaid wages. To do this, you need to have an understanding of California’s minimum wage laws, and you need to engage the help of an experienced attorney.

At Nosratilaw, A Professional Law Corporation, our attorneys are experienced in California wage law. We understand the requirements and standards that California employers are held to. If an employer is found to have violated these requirements, we know how to successfully hold them accountable for their actions. As an employee, it is important that you are fairly compensated for your work. Contact our legal team today to discuss your situation.

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About the Author
Omid Nosrati

Mr. Nosrati been selected as one of the Top 100 Labor and Employment lawyers in the State of California for 2016, 2017, and 2018 by The American Society of Legal Advocates (ASLA). He has a “Superb” (10 out of 10) rating on Avvo and a 4.9 out of 5.0 Peer Rating from other lawyers on Martindale Hubbell. Omid Nosrati is also a member of the respected California Employment Lawyers Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association, and Santa Monica Bar Association. He is a firm believer in education, loves to read about technology trends in the legal field and leverages his firm’s technological strengths to benefit each of his firm’s clients.