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California Employment Basics

Both employers and employees should know their state's employment laws. Knowing the employment & labor laws in your state is not only important but essential to understanding your rights as a worker and your duties as an employer. California is known for having the most pro-worker laws in the United States. Below we'll provide a break down of the most asked about and basic labors laws in case you ever find yourself scratching your head about it.


Since the beginning of 2021, the minimum wage has increased to $13 dollars an hour for employees that work at a job with 25 employees or less. If the workplace has more than 26 employees, the minimum wage is $14 dollars an hour. The minimum wage will continue to increase on January 1 of each year until 2023.


For those who work in a place where tips are involved, California does not have a reduced minimum wage for tipped employees. Any tips or gratuities received either by cash or card are considered to be sole property of the employee. Employers are not allowed to make any deductions to tips or gratuities including credit card processing fees.


In California, if you work more than 8 but up to 12 hours a day or 40 hours a week then you are obligated to receive overtime wage. Overtime wage is one and one-half times the regular rate of pay. Beyond the 12 hours, overtime wage is double the regular rate of pay. However, there are some exemptions to the overtime law. Those that are exempt from overtime include employees who exceed one and one-half times the minimum wage AND fall under an exemption like drivers (uber,lyft,etc.) , taxicab drivers, airline employees, professionals, executives, administrative (not the receptionist, think HR manager), and creatives, to name a few. If your employer has classified you as an exempt employee but you don't have any higher education or say in what the company does, your employer may be in legal trouble. Employers, make sure you properly classify your employee, you could face hefty fines or worst a class action!


Also, all employers are required to provide sick leave to most employees under California law. To be eligible for paid sick leave, you must work a minimum of 30 days. Paid sick leave accrual begins from the very first day of employment and you accumulate 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employers must allow employees to carry sick leave from one year to another but can limit the amount of hours that are rolled over. Employees are exempt from sick leave if they are covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement, if they work in the construction industry with a collective bargaining agreement, if they provide in home support services, or if they work as a flight deck or cabin crew member.


Further, your paycheck stub should provide employees with enough detail of their pay, time period, sick paid accrual and who the employer is.


If you have questions about whether you are implanting the right employment laws in your business or you're an employee who feels they were misclassified make sure to reach out to us or any experience employment law attorney in your area.

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