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California’s Minimum Wage Increase for 2024

Posted on January 27, 2023 in Employment Law

For workers who earn an hourly wage, 2024 will bring an increase in minimum wage. That means that those working in jobs such as fast food workers, hospitals, retailers, and similar professions may earn more in the New Year. There are a few things you should know about the minimum wage increase for 2024 in California if it could impact you. Talk to a San Diego employment law attorney from Walker Law today about the California minimum wage.

California’s Wage Increase for 2024

As noted by California’s Department of Industrial Relations, the state’s minimum wage will move to $16.00 per hour for all employers starting on January 1, 2024. For those in the fast food industry, a higher wage will take effect on April 1, 2024, and for those who work in a healthcare facility, a higher wage increase will go into effect on June 1, 2024. If you earn less than what the minimum wage rules require, then your employer is required to increase your rate of pay to match at least the minimum wage.

Keep in mind that where you work also plays a role in the minimum wage your employer should pay you. Some cities and counties in California have a higher minimum wage than the California state minimum wage. You can verify what you should be paid by using this list from UC Berkeley.

The wage increase is reflective of increasing costs across the country. With inflation at a higher level than ever, many people have struggled to meet their family’s needs. Increasing the minimum wage may help to get more money into the pockets of workers who need it.

Know Your Rights Under California Minimum Wage Rules

The state requires that most employees be paid at the minimum wage or higher, though employers can negotiate rates that are significantly above these minimums. However, this increase in wages does not apply to workers who earn a salary, meaning they do not get paid by the hour. There is no mandated minimum payment for salary workers.

There are some exceptions to the minimum wage rules that you should know. For example, some employees are exempt from it, including those who work outside sales positions, employees who work for their parents, spouse, or child, and apprenticeships. In those cases, wage rules do not directly apply to earnings.

In addition to this, there are also some exceptions for those who are physically or mentally disabled, or both, and who work for a nonprofit organization. This could include people who work for sheltered workshops or in rehabilitation facilities, for example, who employ disabled workers. These organizations must be licensed by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, which allows them to pay less than minimum wage.

Employees Cannot Agree to Work for Less

Even if an employee agrees to work for a rate that is under the state’s minimum wage, employers are required to pay out at this level. It is not something that can be waived even by the employee through an agreement and cannot be a factor in collective bargaining agreements. As a result, even if you agree to work for less, the employer may be in violation of minimum wage laws if they pay you less than the state’s minimum wage requirements.

Employers Are Required to Pay Minimum Wages No Matter How Many Employees They Have

Though some laws only apply to employers who have a certain number of employees, this does not apply to minimum wage rules in the state of California. Even if an employer has just one employee, they are required to pay at least minimum wage to that person. There are no exceptions to this rule when it comes to the size of the employer.

Tips Cannot Count Toward the Minimum Wage

Also notable is that, when paying an employee who routinely receives tips, such as those in food service, the amount of tips cannot be used to offset the minimum wage requirement. Employers cannot use tips to credit the employee for the required per-hour payment. If your employer does this, they may be in violation of these laws and could face significant penalties.

Younger Workers Are Also Equally Paid

It is also important to note that those who are teenagers are still paid minimum wage. This is not a rule that applies only to adults, another common misconception. Employers who hire those who are under the age of 18 and within the legal age requirements set by the state still must pay the minimum wage to those individuals.

What Should You Do If Your Employer Is Not Paying You Fairly?

If you do not feel that you are being paid fairly under the laws of the state, you have the right to take legal action. We recommend your first step is to gather all of your paycheck stubs and scheduled hours worked to use as evidence. Then, give our employment law attorneys a call to learn what we can do to help support your recovery of those lost funds.

You have the right to seek out fair compensation for any time you worked and did not get paid, and our attorneys can help you determine if that is happening. You can also file a claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, which is a component of the Labor Commissioner’s Office, to have them look into this. Your employer will be required to pay the wages you are owed.

Our attorneys work to ensure our clients’ rights to fair and equal treatment under the law are upheld. If your employer is treating you poorly or violating your pay rights, let us help you get back the support you need. There is no risk in reaching out to us. 

Contact Walker Law Firm Now for a Free Consultation

At Walker Law Firm, we fight to protect your rights to fair and full compensation for the work you do. Contact us now for a free consultation to discuss any employment-related concerns you have. Let our experienced attorneys help you protect your rights under the state’s laws.

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