What You Need to Know About Minimum Wage, Tips and, Overtime Laws

When is the last time you examined your paycheck? And we mean really studied it to make sure every cent that you’ve worked for has been properly paid. Taking this time can help you identify whether or not you are being paid in accordance with California Law.

Being informed of your rights is the best way to avoid being robbed of money that you have earned. Everyone plays a pivotal part in a company’s success, no matter their ranking; which means everyone should be treated fairly. Unfortunately, some companies choose to take advantage of their employees’ lack of knowledge of the law for their own financial gain. Get familiar with the four prominent laws that protect employees from being mistreated by employers.


Due to a change in laws over the years and various beliefs, many people have a misunderstanding about overtime. Overtime can be provided in varying amounts, depending on the employee and the hours worked in a certain period. An employee who worked over 40 hours in a week must be paid one and a half times their regular rate for every extra hour they worked. However if that employee works over 12 hours in a day or over eight hours every day for seven consecutive days, they must be paid double their regular rate for every extra hour worked.

While there are exemptions to who can receive overtime, non-exempt employees can be compensated for overtime, whether they are hourly-based, salary-based or commission-based. Another popular violation companies make is misclassifying an employee as exempt, so they don’t have to pay overtime. If your employer says you are exempt, it’s best to make sure this is true according to the California Wage and Labor Law, rather than “company policy”.

Minimum Wage

California minimum wage in 2019 will be $11 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees and $12 per hour for those employers with more than 25 employees. The law was recently updated, raising the previous minimum wage rate. This means that most employees in California must be paid at least $11 per hour, including people who normally receive tips like waiters or valets. If your employer is paying you less than $11 per hour, you’ll want to identify whether they are one of the very few exceptions to the law.


Tips should not count towards an employee's pay rate in California. Employers are required to pay their employees minimum wage, without including the amount they earned in tips. Some employers also attempt to get around this law by making deductions in an employee’s pay or taking credit card processing fees from tips, but this is also prohibited. Tips left by a customer always belong to the employee(s), and supervisors or owners have no right to take or share tips.

Many employees relate to these violations but aren’t sure whether they are an exception and/or how to get their employer to pay them fairly. The Carter Law Firm specializes in wage and hour violations in California. It is our job to keep up with changes in the law so we can help people receive the right compensation they earned and deserve. If you have any reason to believe that your employer is taking advantage of you or you have questions about your employment, we would love to help you. Just fill out the confidential form below.