California Minimum Wage and Overtime Laws

California’s minimum wage and overtime laws exceed the federal standard, and are more favorable to employees than the same laws in most other jurisdictions. For example, unlike workers in other parts of the U.S., California employees who receive tips are entitled to the same minimum wage as everyone else. In addition, California’s overtime laws require employers to pay time and a half more often than other states and sometimes to even double the pay rate depending on the number of hours an employee has worked in one day or in one week.

California’s Minimum Wage and Overtime Rates

California’s minimum wage is $8.00 per hour (January 1, 2008), while the federal minimum wage is $6.55 per hour (July, 2008). Under California overtime law, employees receive time and a half (one and one half times the normal rate of pay) for all hours worked after the first 8 hours, all hours worked over 40 hours in a normal workweek, and for the first 8 hours of the seventh consecutive day of work in one week. California employees receive double pay (two times the normal rate of pay) for all hours over the first 12 hours worked in one day and all hours worked over the first 8 hours on the seventh consecutive work day in a week.

Exempt Occupations

Several occupations are exempt from overtime standards under California law. These include:

  • professional, executive and administrative employees;
  • state and government workers;
  • some computer software employees;
  • parents, spouses or children of the business owner;
  • outside salespersons;
  • workers covered by collective bargaining agreements;
  • airline employees working more than 40 but less than 60 hours per week on a temporary basis and per their own request;
  • student nurses;
  • commercial fisherman and boat crews;
  • sheepherders;
  • taxi cab drivers
  • in-home babysitters and personal attendants;
  • irrigators;
  • motion picture projectionists and professional actors;
  • carnival ride operators at traveling carnivals; and
  • adult employees whose earnings are more than 50 percent commission, if their total earnings exceed more than one and one half times the minimum wage.

If you are a California worker and suspect you have been subject to a violation of hour or wage laws, get in touch with a California employment law lawyer on AttorneyPages. or the federal Department of Labor at 1-866-4-US-WAGE. You can also visit the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement Web site.