Minimum Wage

Although Congress mandates a federal minimum wage, California imposes a higher statewide minimum wage throughout the state.  Effective January 1, 2021, California’s minimum wage for employers with 25 or less employees is $13.00 per hour. Employers employing 26 or more employees is $14.00 per hour.

Locally, employees have fared better as numerous cities provide workers with greater minimum wages.  Under California law, employers must comply with the highest applicable minimum wage, which is commonly the amount set by the local government.

City Current Minimum Wage Other
San Francisco $16.07 per hour Increases to $16.07 per hour + CPI on July 1, 2021
Oakland $14.36 per hour  
San Jose $15.45 per hour  
Emeryville $16.84 per hour  
Berkeley $16.07 per hour Increases to $16.07 per hour + CPI on July 1, 2021
Richmond $15.21 per hour  
Daly City $15.00 per hour  
Santa Clara $15.65 per hour  
Alameda $15.00 per hour. Next increase on July 1, 2022
South San Francisco $15.24 per hour  
Palo Alto $15.65 per hour  
Mountain View $16.30 per hour  
Cupertino $15.65 per hour Increases to $16.00
Belmont $15.90 per hour  
Milpitas $15.40 per hour  
Fremont $15.00 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees; $15.00 per hour plus CPI for employers with 26 or more employees  
Redwood City $15.62 per hour  
San Mateo $15.62 per hour  
San Leandro $15.00 per hour  
Los Altos $15.65 per hour  
El Cerrito $15.61 per hour  
Sunnyvale $16.30 per hour  
Menlo Park $15.25 per hour  
Novato $15.24 per hour for employers with 100 or more employees; $15.00 per hour for employers with 26-99 employees; and, $14.00 per hour for employers with 1-25 employees.  
Petaluma $15.20 per hour  
Sonoma $14.00 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees; $15.00 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees  
Santa Rosa $15.20 per hour Next increase on January 1, 2022

Meal, Rest, and Recovery Periods

Every employee is entitled to meal, rest, and recovery break periods.  8 C.C.R. §§ 11010 – 11150.  Employers must provide paid rest periods lasting at least ten minutes of rest for every four hours worked.  Where an employee’s shift is fewer than four hours, the employer must provide a ten-minute rest period after three and a half hours.  Id.  To the greatest extent possible, employers must provide rest periods in the middle of an employee’s shift.  Id.

Employees who work outdoors are afforded a recovery break to cool down and prevent heat illness.  California Labor Code § 226.7(a). Employers must allow and encourage recovery breaks.  Id.  These breaks must be at least five minutes long.  Id.  

Employers cannot require employees to be on-call during rest and recovery breaks.  California Labor Code § 226.7(b), (c).

Where an employer fails to provide a rest or recovery period, the employee is owed one additional hour of pay at their regular hourly rate for each day that a rest period was not provided.  California Labor Code§ 226.7(c).

Employees have three years to bring a claim against their employer for failure to provide mandated rest and recovery breaks.  California Code of Civil Procedure § 338(a).  However, the statute of limitations increases to four years in certain situations.  Business & Professions Code § 17200 et seq.

If an employee works more than five hours in one day, they are entitled to a meal break of at least thirty minutes in length.  If the employee works more than ten hours in a day, they are entitled to a meal break of at least one hour in duration.  California Labor Code § 512(a).  Unlike rest and recovery breaks, meal breaks are unpaid.  8 C.C.R. § 11010 et seq.

Employers who fail to provide legally required meal breaks must pay one additional hour of pay at the aggrieved employee’s regular rate of pay for each day a meal break was not provided. California Labor Code § 226.7(c). 

If your employer has failed to provide legally required meal, rest, and recovery breaks, you may have a legal claim against your employer.  You have rights, and your employer may be liable for money damages.  Contact Astanehe Law to learn about your rights and your potential remedies.

Overtime Pay

Federal and state statutes and wage orders set the standards governing overtime compensation payment. 29 U.S.C. § 207; 29 C.F.R. § 541.0 et seq.; California Labor Code § 510 et seq.; 8 C.C.R. § 11010 et seq.  Under California law, the most employee-favorable overtime pay law is applicable.

Overtime compensation is based on a multiple of an employee’s regular rate.  In California, employers must pay at least one and a half times the employee’s regular rate for hours worked over forty hours per week or more than eight hours per day.  California Labor Code § 510(a).  Additionally, employers must pay employees double their regular hourly rate for work over twelve hours per day.  Id.

Although employers are free to designate any day as the start of the work week for scheduling and compensation purposes, they are not permitted to do so to avoid the obligation to pay overtime.  Seymore v. Metson marine, Inc., 194 Cal. App. 4th 361, 371 (2011).

Contact Astanehe Law if you believe that your employer has failed to pay you overtime pay under the law, or has manipulated scheduling to avoid their obligation to pay overtime.  Let Astanehe Law help you obtain justice.

Please click here for information pertaining to California’s additional Wage & Hour employee protections.

Wage & Hour Enforcement & Remedies

Aggrieved employees may obtain judicial relief by filing a civil action in court based on breach of contract or a statutory violation.  For wage and hour violations, the court does not require employees to exhaust their remedies, which would require the filing of a wage claim at the Labor Commissioner.  However, employees retain discretion to obtain such administrative redress.

Remedies for wage and hour claims include wages due and owed, other forms of compensation (commissions, bonuses, benefits, and vacation pay), statutory penalties, injunctive relief, and interest. Punitive damages are not available for wage and hour claims.  Brewer v. Premier Golf Properties, LP, 168 Cal. App. 4th 1243 (2008).

Attorney Fees for Wage & Hour Actions

A successful employee can also obtain court costs, and attorney fees.  California Labor Code §§ 218.5(a), 1194(a).  This means that, should you prevail on your wage & hour claim, your boss may have to pay for your legal representation!

Please note that, attorney fees are not recoverable in an administrative proceeding to recover overtime compensation.  California Labor Code § 87.2(c).  Here, attorney fees are awarded only for a successful appeal of a Labor Commissioner’s order. It is important to consider this element when deciding whether to file an administrative or court action. Contact Astanehe Law to discuss your options with an attorney today!

Employees considering legal action against their employers should consider that a successful employer can get a fee award against the employee-plaintiff if the court finds that the employee brought the action in bad faith.  California Labor Code § 218.5(a).  Accordingly, do not initiate an action against your employer without contacting Astanehe Law for a case evaluation first!  Let Astanehe Law assist you in mounting a winning case against your employer.

Astanehe Law Knows Wage & Hour Law

Michael M. Astanehe possesses a zeal for helping employees bring claims against their employers.  Mr. Astanehe is an aggressive litigator with several years of civil litigation experience.  He is willing to take your case to trial, if necessary.  This ferocity ensures that Astanehe Law will obtain the highest recovery possible for each client.

Litigation is stressful.  To that end, Mr. Astanehe provides each client with comprehensive legal service so that they remain fully-informed and comfortable throughout the process.

With Astanehe Law on your side, you are poised to obtain the maximum recovery possible.   Contact us today for your consultation!