This publication provides a brief summary of California’s minimum wage laws and does not discuss the federal minimum wage. Because the state minimum wage ($8.00 per hour as of January 1, 2008) is higher than the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour as of July 24, 2009), most workers in California have the right to the state minimum wage.
Your employer is required to pay you at least the minimum wage for every hour worked, even if your employer tells you he will pay you less. In fact, even if your employer persuades you to work for nothing, you still have the right to minimum wage (see section 3 below). However, there are certain employees who do not have the right to minimum wage (see section 8, below, for these exceptions).
The minimum wage has changed over the years. The minimum wage you should receive for any work you have done (or work you will do) is the minimum wage in place at the time you performed (or will perform) the work in question.
You also may have the right to overtime pay if you work more than eight (8) hours in a day or forty (40) hours in a week. (See our Fact Sheet Overtime Pay for more information).
For further information about your employment rights, contact the Workers’ Rights Clinic.
This Fact Sheet is intended to provide accurate, general information regarding legal rights relating to employment in California. Yet because laws and legal procedures are subject to frequent change and differing interpretations, the Legal Aid Society–Employment Law Center cannot ensure the information in this Fact Sheet is current nor be responsible for any use to which it is put. Do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney or the appropriate agency about your rights in your particular situation.