California – Minimum Wage, Overtime, Hours and Leave



Minimum Wage

California’s current minimum wage rate is $12.00 for employers with 26 or more employees and $11.00 for employers with 25 or fewer employees.

For more information on California’s minimum wage laws, visit our California Minimum Wage Laws page, which includes topics such as minimum wage, tip minimum wage, tip sharing and pooling, and subminimum wages.

Related topic covered on other pages include:


Overtime

California labor laws require an employer to pay overtime to employees, unless otherwise exempt, at the rate of:

  • one and a half (1½) times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of forty (40) hours in a workweek or eight (8) hours up to and including 12 hours in any workday, and for the first eight (8) hours worked on the 7th consecutive day of work in a workweek; and
  • two (2) times the employee’s regular rate or pay for all hours worked in excess of twelve (12) hours in any workday and for all hours worked in excess of eight on the 7th consecutive day of work in a workweek.

CA Dept. of Industrial Relations: Overtime.


Prevailing Wages

Under certain circumstances, employers in NY may be required to pay residents wage rates established by the federal or state prevailing wage rates and rules. The prevailing wage rates may be different from the state’s standard minimum wage rates. Employees may be eligible for prevailing wages if they work on federal or state government or government-funded construction projects or perform certain federal or state government services. See the California Department of Industrial Relations: Public Works, Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA), and Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA) for more information about prevailing wages.


Meals and Breaks

California labor laws require that employers provide employees with a meal period of no less than a 30-minute when they work more than five (5) consecutive hours (more than six (6) hours for employees in the motion picture industry in specific situations). CA Dept. of Industrial Relations: Meal Periods. Unless the employee is relieved of all duties during the entire 30-minute meal period and is free to leave the employer’s premises, the meal period must be counted as hours worked and paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay. California law only permits employers to provide an “on duty” meal period when the nature of the work prevents the employee from being relieved of all duty and when by written agreement between the employer and employee an on-the-job meal period is agreed to. CA Labor Code 512

Certain non-exempt employees must be provided with a net 10-minute paid rest period for every four (4) hours worked or major fraction thereof. Insofar as is practicable, the rest period should be in the middle of the work period. A rest period is not required for employees whose total daily work time is less than three and one half (3 1/2) hours. The rest period is counted as time worked and therefore, the employer must pay for such periods. CA Dept. of Industrial Relations: Rest Periods.

Nursing Mother Breaks

California labor laws require employers to provide employees who are nursing mothers with reasonable breaks times to express breast milk unless doing so would seriously disrupt the employers’ operations. Employers may request employees who are nursing to take breaks to express milk when possible at the same time as other paid break periods. Employers are not required to pay employees for breaks to express milk if the breaks do not coincide with other paid breaks.

Employers must make reasonable efforts to provide nursing mother employees with private locations where nursing mothers may express breast milk. The locations must be in close proximity to the nursing mothers’ work areas. Toilet stalls do not meet the minimum standards for the nursing mothers location. Employers may ask nursing mothers to express breast milk at their normal work location if the normal work locations meets the minimum standard for nursing mother locations.

CA Labor Code 1030; CA Dept. of Industrial Relations: Lactation Accommodation


Vacation Leave

Information about California vacation leave laws may now be found on our California Leave Laws page.


Sick Leave

Information about California sick leave laws may now be found on our California Leave Laws page.


Holiday Leave

Information about California holiday leave laws may now be found on our California Leave Laws page.


Jury Duty Leave

Information about California jury duty leave laws may now be found on our California Leave Laws page.


Voting Leave

Information about California voting leave laws may now be found on our California Leave Laws page.


Severance Pay

California labor laws do not require employers to provide employees with severance pay. If an employer chooses to provide severance benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

No matter if you have large or a small business, a well-crafted employee handbook is beneficial in informing the company employees about your policies.
The employee handbook proves useful in a unexpected situation.


Unemployment

Under certain circumstances, California residents may be eligible for unemployment benefits while they search for another job. You are required to certify that you are unemployed on a weekly basis to receive these benefits. See California State Unemployment Benefits.



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