In California, the laws governing compensation of employees cover issues such as whether payment constitutes wages; if it does, whether the employer has paid their employees the correct amount. In the unfortunate event that an employee is not paid the correct amount owed to them, the employee may recover those unpaid wages through a wage & hour action against their employer.


             1.  When wage payment is due?

  • Wages must be paid at least twice (with some exceptions) during each calendar month on days designated in advance
  • Employers must post a notice with the day, time, and location of where employees can obtain payment of their wages
  • If an employee is discharged, then all of that employee’s wages must be paid immediately at the time of termination.
  • Employers who willfully fail to pay wages due to a terminated employee may be penalized in an amount equal to the employee’s daily rate of pay for each day the wages remain unpaid, up to a maximum of 30 calendar days.

            2.  Minimum wage requirements 

Effective January 1, 2017, the minimum wage for all industries was $10.50 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees and $10 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees. On January 1, 2018, the minimum wage increased to $11 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees and $10.50 per hour for employees with 25 or fewer employees. The minimum wage shall be adjusted on a yearly basis through 2023 according to the pre-set schedule shown above. https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_minimumwage.htm

             3.  Overtime pay requirements 

  • Employees may not work more than 8 hours in any workday or more than 40 hours in any workweek unless the employee is paid overtime for all the hours worked in excess
  • Overtime wage consists of one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of eight hours up to and including 12 hours of work in any workday
  • If an employee works in excess of 12 hours in any workday, then the employee must be paid double the employee’s regular rate of pay
  • Overtime wages must be paid no later than the next regular payday after they were earned
  • However, there are some exemptions from the overtime law (ie: doesn’t apply to particular classification of employees like union employees and drivers who hours are regulated by other provisions)
  • Employees may still be eligible for overtime pay based on the employee’s actual job responsibilities (even if their employer classifies the employee as exempt)
  • Work done “off the clock” could violate overtime laws
  • Employers who do not give or compensate employees for meal breaks could be in violation of overtime laws

              4.  Equal pay requirements (prohibiting gender discrimination)

  • The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women who work in the same workplace be given equal pay/benefits for equal work (identical or substantially equal jobs)
  • Title VII makes it illegal to discriminate based on sex

              5.  Child labor laws

All individuals under 18 years of age employed in the state of California must have a permit to work (except in limited circumstances)


The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) adjudicates wage claims, investigates discrimination and public works complaints, and enforces Labor Code statutes and Industrial Welfare Commission orders.  For more information, please look at the website for Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE)

If you find that your employer has not satisfied the above requirements or has not paid you the correct amount of wages, then you may have a compensation action against your employer and can recover what you are owed.


To determine if you have a wage & hour action against your employer, you should contact an employment attorney immediately to protect your legal rights under both State and Federal laws.

The employment law matters are often complex and fact specific. At Mostafavi Law Group, APC, we treat your situation uniquely, and will tailor our representation to your situation and needs with commitment and zealous advocacy to maximize the recovery for you.


Contact us today by calling (310)473-1111, send us a fax at (310)473-2222 or email us at admin@mostafavilaw.com. We are here to help.