Minimum Wage is a Requirement, Not a Suggestion

Minimum Wage is a Requirement, Not a Suggestion

Minimum wage in California is an hourly wage based specifically on the size of a company. It is a requirement, not a suggestion. Many employers break minimum wage laws by working their employees’ overtime without overtime pay, thus diluting their hourly pay. If you believe you are not being appropriately compensated for the hard work you are putting in, contact our professional attorneys at Johnson Attorneys Group to bring accountability to your employer and ensure you receive proper compensation for your time.

Overworked and Underpaid.

The fast pace environment we all live and work in can make it difficult for you to determine if your employer is violating wage and hour laws. Do not attempt to resolve this on your own. If you are overworked and underpaid, you owe it to yourself to contact our team at Johnson Attorneys Group for a FREE consultation and get the pay that you deserve. Remember, workers are protected under Federal and California law and are required to be paid fairly by their employers. Unfortunately, some employees are afraid to step up and report violations of these laws out of fear they may lose their job or experience retaliation. Do not let this happen to you. For a deeper understanding, continue reading and have confidence in your ability to fight back.

Wage and Hour

Here in California we have some of the toughest labor laws in the nation to protect employees. These laws, however, can be extremely complex.

It’s important that you understand the employer cannot retaliate against their workers for reporting illegal wage and hour violations or any illegal activities by their employer. If the employer does retaliate, they will face compounded consequences.

Employees are protected under the federal Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA) so that they are not taken advantage of by employers who may fail to pay overtime, provide meal and rest breaks or accrued vacation wages. This law also sets out rules for child labor. It applies to all states, but California also has its own rules on minimum wages that are even more generous.

Common wage theft and hour violations are:

  • Failing to pay overtime wages
  • Requiring employees to “work off the clock”
  • Rounding out time resulting in underpayment
  • Not allowing minimum 30-minute meal breaks for each 5 hours worked
  • Failure to provide minimum 10-minute rest breaks for each 4 hours of work
  • Forging time records
  • Late payments of commissions or wages
  • Failing to reimburse employees for business expenses
  • Misclassifying employees as exempt or managerial
  • Employees misclassified as independent contractors
  • Failing to pay employees who work prior to and after shifts begin
  • Not paying vacation wages at termination
  • Not paying an employee who leaves within 72 hours


Our California employment law firm has found that oftentimes employers who fail to pay their workers overtime also fail to keep accurate payroll records of the hours the employee has worked.

Some employers have tried to avoid paying overtime by offering their employees a flat day rate regardless of how many hours they have worked. This is illegal and violates strict rules outlined by the US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division. The federal law requires employers to pay minimum wage or higher, provide overtime pay, keep accurate records of hours worked by their employees, and more.

Under the overtime provisions set by the FLSA, an employer must pay their workers one and a half times their regular rate of pay when they work more than 40 hours in a given week. Double-time must be paid after twelve hours per day or eight hours on the seventh work day.

Minimum Wage in California

In California, the minimum wage must be $11 per hour for businesses with 25 employees or less and $12 per hour for businesses with 26 or more employees. Additionally, at the beginning of every year (Jan. 1), there will be a one-dollar per hour increase until 2023.

There are municipalities that have higher minimum wage requirements. For example, in Los Angeles the minimum wages are $13.25 for 25 and under employees and $14.25 for 26 or more employees. By Jan. 1, those wages increase to $14.25 and $15 respectively.

Exempt or Non-Exempt Employees

One of the biggest mistakes many employers make is paying their employees a fixed salary instead of an hourly wage. Only employees who are executive, administrative and professional employees can be classified as exempt. This would mean the employer does not have to pay them overtime for their work. To qualify as an except employee, the employee would have to meet one of the following requirements:

  • More than half of work time is spent doing intellectual, managerial or creative work.
  • Regularly exercise discretion and independent judgment in performing those duties.
  • Earn a monthly salary at least twice the state minimum wage for full-time employment (40 hours/week).

There are exemptions to the above criteria for certain jobs. Briefly, certain jobs in the computer software field, licensed physicians or surgeons primarily engaged in work that requires medical licensure, some teachers at private elementary or secondary schools, and employees who earn more than half of their compensation from commissions.

Contact our California Employment Law Firm

If you have not been paid fairly by your employer, Johnson Attorneys Group will step in and hold your employer accountable for their actions. We will get any unpaid wages, penalties for having to wait for your wages, and we work on a contingency-fee basis.

Answers to Common Employment Law California Questions

My Employer Isn’t Giving Me Time with My Newborn. Can I Fight This?

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, federal law dictates specific guidelines to allow for growing families to have time with their children and time to recover after a pregnancy. If you feel your employer is violating the FMLA, you owe it to yourself and your family to get professional legal help. We are the leading attorneys in employer law and we will fight to get you the time you need with your family.

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I Feel I’m Being Discriminated Against. How Do I Know?

The law outlines very specific characteristics that are protected from harassment. If you believe you are being harassed on the basis of race, gender, age, sexual orientation or religion, it’s time to pick up the phone and call our office for a consultation. Discrimination is a serious crime and you do not have to take it any longer. Call us today for a FREE consult to understand your rights under the law.

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I Am Disabled and My Employer Doesn’t Help Me. What Can I Do?

Every employer in California is REQUIRED to make accommodations for various disabilities in California. The American Disabilities Act outlines specific guidelines for this and if your employer is not providing you the tools you need to do your job, they are breaking the law. Let our team at Johnson Attorneys Group stand by your side and fight back against unlawful behavior in the workplace.

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