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There has been much discussion about minimum wage in the United States in recent years, as many people advocate for the national minimum wage to be increased substantially. California is ahead of this curve, as our state has already been implementing an increase in the minimum wage over the past few years. The increase is gradual to minimize the effect on businesses, and the wage increases by $1.00 per hour every January 1st. This means that:

  • Companies with 25 or more employees will have to pay $15 per hour starting January 1, 2022
  • Companies with fewer than 25 employees will have to pay $14 per hour starting January 1, 2022

Localities With Higher Minimum Wages

The minimum wage in California of $15 per hour for many employers makes it one of the highest-paying states in the U.S. Some cities have gone even farther, however, as they passed even higher minimum wages. The following cities are some with the highest minimum wage in California:

  1. Berkeley = $16.07
  2. Emeryville = $16.84
  3. Mountain View = $16.30
  4. San Francisco = $16.07
  5. Sunnyvale = $16.30

Many additional localities have a minimum wage set between the statewide $15 per hour and $16 per hour. Always check to make sure you know what the minimum wage is where you work to ensure your employer is complying with the law.

Minimum Wage and Overtime

If your employer fails to pay you the correct minimum wage, it will also mean you are receiving the incorrect overtime rate, as this rate is dependent on your hourly rate. Overtime pay should either be 1.5 or two times your regular hourly rate, so as your minimum wage increases, so should your overtime pay.

If your minimum wage increased in 2022, but your overtime pay stayed the same, your employer might be violating your rights. Better to be safe than sorry and set up a consultation with an attorney who can advise you whether you are receiving full wages that California law entitles you to receive. 

Overtime Rules for California Employers in 2022

If you are a non-exempt employee subject to minimum wage laws, you are also subject to overtime pay requirements. This means that your employer must pay you the proper rate for hours you work beyond the traditional work day or week. 

In 2022, the overtime rates are as follows:

  • 1.5 times your usual hourly rate for working over eight hours in a day
  • 1.5 times your usual hourly rate for working over 40 hours in a week
  • 1.5 times your usual hourly rate for working on Sunday as your seventh day of the week
  • Double your usual hourly rate for working more than 12 hours in a day
  • Double your usual hourly rate for working more than 8 hours on a Sunday as your seventh day of the week

Based on the current minimum wage in California, employers with 25 or more employees will need to pay:

  • $22.50 per hour for time-and-a-half
  • $30 per hour for double time

Employers with fewer than 25 employees will pay:

  • $21 per hour for time-and-a-half
  • $28 per hour for double time

If your pay is higher than minimum wage, always take the time to calculate what you should deserve for overtime rates. This can help you identify when your employer is not paying you everything that you deserve. 

Determining Your Regular Rate of Pay

Some people do not have one single hourly wage that applies to all their hours worked. When this is the case, the law requires an employer to base overtime rates on the employee’s “regular rate of pay.”

If you receive a different wage for in-office work than for travel time, for example, or you receive piece-rate pay, you still deserve proper overtime pay. Determine your regular rate of pay by taking your total weekly pay and dividing it by the hours you worked. For example:

  • You receive $15 per hour for travel time for 15 hours per week
  • You receive $20 per hour when you are conducting your regular work for 25 hours per week
  • Your total weekly pay was $725 for 40 hours
  • Your regular rate of pay would be $18.12
  • Your time-and-a-half rate should be $27.18 per hour
  • Your double-time rate should be $36.24

If this seems complex, it’s because it can be. Many employees with varying pay have difficulty knowing what overtime rates they deserve, which puts them at risk of receiving less than required by law.

Anyone with questions about their regular hourly pay rate, minimum wage, overtime, or anything else should consult with a wage lawyer immediately.

Never ignore possible unpaid wages or overtime, as the situation can only get worse with time. The longer you wait, the more your employer might owe you, and the more challenging the company might be when it comes to resolving the wage complaint.

If you are concerned about how your employer might react to a wage complaint, you can rest assured that the law protects your right to raise this issue. The law prohibits retaliation by an employer for bringing up employment or wage violations. If your employer does take adverse action against you – including termination – they can then be liable for violating additional labor laws that prohibit such retaliation.

Consult with a California Unpaid Overtime Attorney

At Mara Law Firm, we work to resolve wage and overtime claims as effectively and efficiently as possible, and we can review whether you and/or your coworkers have a wage claim. Contact us for a no-cost case evaluation today.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney David Mara who has more than 20 years of legal experience in employment law.

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