Understanding California Wage Laws

As a California employee, it is critical that you should know your employment and labor law rights...

Credit: Zerbor / iStock by Getty Images

As a California employee, it is critical that you should know your employment and labor law rights.

Especially in cases of wage concerns, you should know how much you are entitled to get under the law so you can bargain more effectively against your employer, or at the very least, get the minimum provided for by law.


Under California laws, your minimum rate of pay should be at least $10.50 an hour. Don’t be surprised if this is higher than the federal law imposing minimum wage which is set at $7.85 an hour because, with regard to employee benefits, the law applies that which is more beneficial to the employees. Hence, your minimum wage should never be lower than that imposed by existing laws.

The previous considered, if your employer is providing you less than what you deserve, then you can ask your employer for the difference. If he resists, then he is liable for violating employment and labor laws and will be penalized with damages on top of everything.


Overtime is defined as hours worked on top of your daily hour’s work for the day. To be covered by the other time pay you need to comply with the following requirements:

  1. You are a rank-and-file employee; and
  2. Your employer authorizes you or consents to the overtime work.

Don’t be sorry if you are not a rank-and-file employee because you can still be allowed to be paid overtime pay if your employer allows it or you have a contract stating that you are entitled to overtime pay regardless of your position at the office.

In case you are entitled to overtime pay, please bear in mind that any hours worked more than 40 hours in a week and more than 8 hours in a day are considered as overtime, and the computation of overtime is your basic hourly rate multiplied by 1.5.


California law provides that if you work for 6 hours or longer in a day, then you are entitled to a 30 minute meal period which should be uninterrupted. If your employer asks you to be on call while taking your meal period, then your right to meals and rest breaks are being violated.


Mesriani Law Group is among the top employment law firms in California that have over two decades of combined experience in seeking justice to all employees in the workplace. If you want to get the maximum award you deserve for unpaid wages or any violation of your employment and labor law rights, we can get it done for you at the swiftest possible time without you having to burn through your family’s life’s savings on legal fees.

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