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Wage and hour laws in California

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2022 | Wage And Hour Issues

There are minimum wages that Calfornia employers must pay as well as legally regulated pay for overtime and other benefits. However, it does make a difference if the employee is non-exempt; exempt employees are governed by different laws.

The difference between exempt and non-exempt

A non-exempt California employee must be paid the minimum wage and overtime if they work more than 40 hours a week. An exempt employee, on the other hand, is one who makes at least $23,600 per year. They receive pay on a salary basis and have job duties that are exempt. They do not get overtime pay, which is a commonly misunderstood regulation that can lead to wage and hour issues.

The minimum wage

If you are a non-exempt employee and work for a company with 25 or fewer employees, the minimum wage is $11 per hour. If the company has 26 or more employees, the minimum wage is $12 per hour.

If an employee works more than 40 hours per week or more than eight hours per day, they must get overtime pay. Overtime is hourly wage plus 50% of the wage. For example, if pay is $11 per hour, for the ninth hour and after, the pay rate would be $16.50, or what’s often called “time and a half.”


If an employee works more than five hours straight, they must get a 30-minute meal break. If work is in the motion picture industry, this figure turns to six hours straight for a meal break. Also, every four hours worked entitles an employee to a 10-minute break.

Vacations and more

Vacation benefits are not required, nor is sick leave with pay. Although holiday leave is not required, holiday pay is a requirement, so if an employee works on Christmas or other federally recognized holidays, they get holiday pay.

When you begin a new job or own a business, it may be wise to check the state’s policies before any wage and hour issues arise. The state law may be different from what you may be thinking or may have recently changed.