On January 1, 2019, the minimum wage in California increased to $12 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees and $11 per hour for employees with 25 or fewer employees*.
Some employees, however, are exempt from the minimum wage law, including outside salespersons, employees who are the parent, child, or spouse of the employer, and apprentices indentured under the State Division of Apprenticeship Standards.
It’s important to keep in mind that several cities and counties throughout California have passed their own minimum wage requirements and may have different dates they go into effect. The minimum wage in Los Angeles County, for example, is currently $13.25 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees and $12 per hour for employees with 25 or fewer employees, and will increase to $14.25 and $13.25, respectively, as of July 1, 2019. If a city or county has adopted a higher minimum wage than the state’s, employees must be paid the local wage where it is higher than the state or federal minimum wage rates.
If your employer is not paying you at least the minimum wage, you can file a wage claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office or file a lawsuit in court against your employer to recover lost wages. Further, if your employer discriminates or retaliates against you in any way whatsoever for asking why you weren’t being paid the minimum wage, or because you file or threaten to file a claim with the Labor Commissioner, you can file a discrimination/retaliation claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office or file a lawsuit in court against your employer.
*California’s minimum wage has been increasing yearly since January 1, 2017 for all industries and will continue to do so until January 1, 2022 for employers employing 26 or more employees and until January 1, 2023 for employers employing 25 or fewer employees.