California Labor Laws

In 2022, the minimum wage for employers with 25 employees or less is $14 per hour.

The minimum wage for employers with 26 employees or more is $15 per hour.

Some localities have a higher minimum & tipped minimum wage. To learn more about those wage rates, contact one of our ROC CA chapters.

Tipped in employees must be paid the minimum wage rate plus tips. In California an employer cannot use an employee’s tips as a credit towards its obligation to pay the minimum wage. California law requires that employees receive the minimum wage plus any tips left for them by patrons of the employer’s business. Labor Code Section 351

Expecting a baby? Taking care of a seriously ill family member? If you need to take time off work for a new baby or to care for a seriously ill family member and you pay into State Disability Insurance (SDI), you are eligible for California Paid Family Leave. Paid Family Leave pays 55% of your wages when you take time off to:

  • Bond with a new baby, adoption or foster child.
  • Care for a seriously ill parent, parent-in-law, spouse, domestic partner, child, grandparent, grandchild or sibling. 
  • How to apply:
    Call the Employment Development
    Department 1 (877) 238-4372  or visit
  • For questions about your legal right to
    take leave, call Legal Aid at Work
    Helpline: 1 (800) 880-8047

Overtime pay must be paid at one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for hours worked over forty in any work week.

Here’s the breakdown:

Multiply the minimum wage ($15) x 1.5 = $22.50

Subtract $19.50 from tipped minimum wage ($15) = $4.50 

Overtime pay must be paid at one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for hours worked over forty in any work week.

Then, multiply $4.50 by the number of overtime hours worked and add that sum to your 40-hour total. 

Yes. In California, an employer must provide an employee with a thirty minute meal and rest period if the employee works five or more hours. However, if the total work period per day of the employee is no more than six hours, the meal period may be waived by mutual consent of both the employer and employee. A second meal period of no less than thirty minutes is required if an employee works more than ten hours per day, except that if the total hours worked is no more than 12 hours, the second meal period may be waived by mutual consent of the employer and employee only if the first meal period was not waived. 

No. Labor Code Section 351 provides that the employer must pay the employee the full amount of the tip that is indicated on the credit card. The employer may not make any deduction for credit card processing fees or costs that are charged to the employer by the credit card company from gratuities paid to the employee.


To qualify for sick leave, an employee must:

  • Work for the same employer, on or after January 1, 2015, for at least 30 days within a year in California
  • Satisfy a 90-day employment period (similar to a probationary period) before taking any sick leave

You can take paid sick leave for yourself or a family member, for preventive care or diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition, or for specified purposes if you are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

  • Family members include the employee’s parent, child, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, and sibling.
  • Preventive care would include annual physicals or flu shots.

The employee may decide how much paid sick leave he or she wants to use (for example, whether you want to take an entire day, or only part of a day). Your employer can require you to take a minimum of at least two hours of paid sick leave at a time, but otherwise the determination of how much time is needed is left to the employee.

Yes. Every gratuity is the sole property of the employee or employees to whom it was paid, given, or left for. Under  Labor Code Section 351, it has been interpreted to allow for involuntary tip pooling so long as the tip pooling policy is not used to compensate the owner(s), manager(s), or supervisor(s) of the business, even if these individuals should provide direct table service to a patron or are in the chain of service to a patron. In addition, the policy must be fair and reasonable.

Therefore, your employer can require that you share your tips with other staff that provide service in the restaurant so long as the employees that share in the tip pooling policy are employees to whom the tip was paid, given, or left for. In this regard, the courts have validated policies that distributed tips among employees who provide “direct table service” or who are in the “chain of service” provided that employee in the chain of service bears a relationship to the customers’ overall experience. 

Legal Aid at Work

Legal Aid at Work is a nonprofit legal services organization that has been assisting low-income, working families for more than 100 years.  We use four main strategies to enforce and strengthen workers’ rights.


Since 1984 GEK’s Workers’ Compensation attorneys have been dedicated to fighting for the rights of those in Southern California who are hurt at work. In the ensuing years, the Workers’ Compensation system has changed drastically, and not in a positive way for the state’s injured workers.