Minimum Wage Laws in California: What You Need to Know

Did you know that the state of Washington’s minimum wage was $17.50 an hour in 2023, which was the highest in the US? In the Golden State, wage rules can be hard to understand as it vary per city. Palmdale’s minimum wage is different from Berkeley and other cities in CA. If you’re confused about the laws in your city, read on. We will talk about what determines pay rates and exceptions to the minimum wage requirements.  

One of the best things you should do is get help from a legal professional, someone who knows employment laws. These rules are important for everyone who works with workers to know. Keep reading to learn the most recent updates and important things you need to know to get through California’s complicated minimum wage rules.

California Minimum Wage Rates

If you work in California, you should know about the new minimum wage. California’s minimum wage changes based on the size of the business, starting January 1, 2022. People who work for a business with 26 or more employees must be paid at least $14 an hour. A little less than 25 people work for your company, so the minimum wage is $13 an hour.

Every year, these prices will go up until a big business pays $15 an hour and a small business pays the same in 2024. Please be aware of these changes so that you are paid fairly for your job.

This minimum wage rule is something that employers must follow to stay out of trouble with the law and avoid fines. Call or ask your boss what the minimum wage is right now. The California Department of Industrial Relations can help you. Also, keep an eye out for any changes.

Exemptions and Exceptions

Most employees in California are entitled to the state’s minimum wage, but there are some exemptions to consider. For example, employees who are under 18 years old and work for a government agency or sheltered workshop may be paid less than the minimum wage. Learners, apprentices, and disabled employees may also be exempt from the standard minimum wage rates.

Certain industries, such as outside salespersons, may not be subject to the minimum wage requirements. Commission-based employees in the retail or automobile sales industries are also exempt from the standard minimum wage laws. Tipped employees, like waitstaff, may be paid a lower cash wage if their tips bring their total earnings to at least the minimum wage.

Recent Updates and Changes

Stay updated about new events and changes to California’s minimum wage laws. The minimum wage in California will go up to $14 an hour for businesses with 26 or more workers on January 1, 2021. For businesses with 25 or fewer workers, the minimum wage will stay at $13. Know both the state minimum wage and the rules in your area. Some cities and counties have set their own rates that are higher than the state minimum.

There will soon be a $15 minimum wage across the whole state. This is a big change from a few years ago. A business with 26 or more workers will have to pay $15 an hour by January 1, 2023. If a small company has 25 or fewer employees, the $15 minimum wage will start on January 1, 2024. This small raise is meant to make sure that all workers in California are paid fairly.

Everyone who works for or with someone else needs to know about these changes so that everyone follows the law and gets paid fairly. Keep an eye on California’s minimum wage rules to see if there are any new improvements or changes.

Enforcement and Penalties

The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) is in charge of following California’s wage and hour laws, which include the state’s minimum wage rules. These rules must be followed by employers, or they will be fined.

California law says that employers must pay the minimum wage. If they don’t, they could be fined. Some of these punishments are liquidated damages and back pay that is given to the employee. If an employer doesn’t pay the minimum wage, the DLSE may fine or prosecute them.

Workers should know what their rights are when it comes to the minimum wage and tell the DLSE about any violations. California law says that employers can’t punish workers for exercising their rights. If an employer is caught retaliating, they may have to face more punishments.

Tips for Compliance and Best Practices

Keep up with any improvements or changes to California’s minimum wage laws so that you can follow along. Check your payment procedures often and make any changes that are needed to make sure that all of your workers are getting paid at least the minimum wage.

Make it easy for your employees to talk to you about their pay, and make sure they know what their rights are under California’s minimum wage rules. Your management and HR staff should be taught how to correctly figure out and pay the minimum wage, as well as any other requirements that apply to people who get tips.

To show that you’re following California’s minimum wage rules, keep accurate records of all the hours your employees work and the wages you pay them. Do internal checks on a regular basis to find any problems or mistakes in the way wages are paid and fix them right away.


Overall, understanding California’s minimum wage laws is important for employers’ compliance and avoiding penalties. Staying informed and compliant is key to handling the employment environment. Whether you’re an employee making sure you’re paid fairly or an employer striving to maintain compliance, knowledge of these laws is fundamental to success in California.

Keep an eye for more latest news & updates on Discover Headline!

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