california labor code and laws

California Labor Code and Laws

California Labor Code and Laws: Essential Facts for Employers and Employees


Navigating the complex world of California Labor Code and Laws can feel overwhelming, but with the right resources and understanding, you can ensure proper compliance with these regulations. This article aims to provide you with essential information and reliable resources to help make understanding California’s labor laws a more manageable task.

One critical aspect of California labor laws involves minimum wage requirements. As of January 2022, the minimum wage for employers with more than 25 employees is $15 per hour, while for those with 25 or lesser employees, the minimum pay is $14 per hour, increasing to $15 per hour starting January 1, 2023 1. Overtime regulations are another crucial component of California Labor Code. According to California Labor Code Section 510, employees are entitled to overtime pay after working 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week2.

By familiarizing yourself with California labor regulations and taking advantage of accurate information and online resources, you can maintain a compliant work environment and protect the rights of both employers and employees. 


California Wage Laws


Minimum Wage in California

As of January 2022, the minimum wage for employers in California employing more than 25 workers is $15 per hour. For those employing 25 or fewer employees, the minimum wage is $14 per hour and is scheduled to increase to $15 per hour starting January 1, 2023.

Subminimum Wage in California

There is no specific information provided regarding subminimum wage in California. However, state law allows employers to compensate employees, in whole or in part, on a task, piece, or commission basis.

Wages and Reporting Time Pay in California

In California, if you work more than half of your scheduled workday, you are entitled to reporting time pay, which includes compensation for half of your scheduled hours or the actual hours worked, whichever is greater. For instance, if you are scheduled to work 8 hours, but only work 4 hours, you are entitled to pay for 6 hours (4 hours worked + 2 hours reporting time pay).

Wages and Split Shift Premium in California

If your work schedule requires you to split your shift, such as working in the morning and evening with a significant break in between, you might be eligible for split shift premium. This premium is the difference between your daily minimum wage and the sum of hourly wages for the hours worked during the split shift. The calculation is as follows:

Split Shift Premium = (Minimum Daily Wage) – (Sum of Hourly Wages for Hours Worked)

Keep in mind that your rights and protections under California Labor Code and Laws could vary based on your specific employment circumstances. Always consult with a qualified professional if you have questions or concerns about your wages or employment rights.


California Payment Laws


California Overtime Laws

In California, you are entitled to overtime pay when you work more than eight hours in a single workday, 40 hours in a workweek, or on the seventh consecutive day of work. Overtime pay is calculated at 1.5 times your regular rate of pay. For instance, if you work 10 hours in a day, the extra two hours should be paid at 1.5 times your regular rate. In addition, if you work more than 12 hours in a single day or more than eight hours on the seventh consecutive day, you are entitled to double your regular hourly rate.

Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in California

There are exceptions and exemptions to California’s overtime laws. For instance, certain white-collar workers, such as executive, administrative, and professional employees, can be exempt from overtime laws if they perform certain duties and are paid a predetermined salary amount. Independent contractors and some members of the farm labor force may also be exempt from the state’s overtime regulations.

California labor code for breaks

In California, employees are entitled to rest breaks during their shifts. You are entitled to a paid 10-minute rest break for every four hours of work, or major fraction thereof. Ideally, these breaks should be taken in the middle of each work period, whenever practical.

California Meal Break Law

Aside from rest breaks, California labor laws ensure employees are provided with unpaid meal breaks. When you work for more than five hours in a day, you are entitled to a meal break of at least 30 minutes. However, if your total workday is no more than six hours, you and your employer can agree to waive the meal break. If you work more than 10 hours in a day, you are entitled to a second meal break of at least 30 minutes.

Exceptions to Break Laws in California

Certain circumstances may exempt you from California’s break laws. For instance, specific industries and occupations, like security guards or employees working in the entertainment industry, may have different meal and rest break requirements. In addition, if you are an exempt employee under state law or if you work in a unionized workplace, meal and rest break rules may differ.


Breastfeeding Laws as per California Labor Code


In California, breastfeeding laws aim to protect and support nursing mothers in various aspects of their lives, such as in the workplace and public spaces. As a nursing mother, you have the right to breastfeed your child in any public or private location, except for the private home or residence of another person, where you and your child are otherwise allowed to be present (Civil Code, § 43.3).

When it comes to the workplace, California Labor Code sections 1030 through 1033 have specific provisions that protect your rights to request and use lactation accommodations. Employers must provide reasonable break times for employees who need to express breast milk during work hours. The breaks may run concurrently with any existing break periods. However, if a break is required beyond the usual breaks, the employer is not required to pay for that time (Labor Code, § 1030).

Additionally, your employer is required to provide a private space, other than a bathroom, that is close to your workspace for expressing breast milk. The space must be shielded from view, free from intrusion and include a place to sit, a table, and access to electricity or an alternative device, like a battery pack, to operate an electric or battery-powered breast pump (Labor Code, § 1031).

In case of denial of appropriate breaks or adequate space to express milk, you may file a wage claim to recover one hour of pay at your regular rate of pay for each violation under Labor Code section 226.7 (Labor Code, § 1033). Furthermore, you can report a violation of lactation accommodation laws with the California Department of Industrial Relations.

To educate employees about their rights, employers must develop and implement a policy that clearly explains the right to request lactation accommodations, the process to request accommodations, and the employer’s obligation to respond to requests (Labor Code, § 1034).

It’s crucial to understand and utilize your rights as a nursing mother in California, both in the workplace and public spaces. Familiarize yourself with these laws to ensure a supportive environment for you and your child.


Day of Rest According to California Labor Code

In California, the labor code ensures that every person employed in any occupation of labor is entitled to one day’s rest in seven under Section 551. This means that you, as an employee, have the right to a day off in a workweek.

The California Supreme Court has clarified that the mandated day of rest must be provided within a workweek rather than in any consecutive seven-day period, according to SHRM. This ensures that your employer cannot force you to work without a day off during a given workweek.

However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. If you work more than six hours on any given day during a workweek, a day of rest must still be provided within that workweek. This is subject to other exceptions that may apply, as mentioned in this California Supreme Court Clarifies Day of Rest Rules article. It’s crucial to understand if your specific situation falls under such exceptions or not.

To sum it up, the California Day of Rest Law strives to maintain a balance between work life and personal life, ensuring that employees have adequate rest for better mental and physical health. Familiarize yourself with the details of this law to ensure your rights as an employee are protected in the state of California.


California Leave Requirements


California Required Leave

In California, employers are required to provide certain types of leave to their employees. One such requirement is the provision of paid sick leave. If you have worked for the same employer for at least 30 days within a year in California, you’re eligible for paid sick leave. This applies to full-time, part-time, and temporary workers. Employers must provide at least 24 hours or three days off each year for most workers.

Under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligible employees have the right to job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons. This includes up to 12 weeks of leave within a 12-month period for events like:

  • Bonding with a new child
  • Caring for a family member with a serious health condition
  • The employee’s own serious health condition


California Non-Required Leave

While California has some of the most extensive leave laws in the country, there are some types of leave that employers aren’t strictly required to provide. However, many employers may choose to offer these additional types of leave as part of their employee benefits package. Examples of non-required leave may include:

  • Personal leave or additional time off beyond paid sick leave and family/medical leave
  • Paid time off for holidays, vacations, or floating holidays
  • Bereavement leave for employees working in companies with less than five employees

It is essential to be aware of your rights and benefits as an employee under California leave laws. Be sure to review your employer’s specific policies and understand which types of leave you may be eligible for, as well as any requirements or limitations associated with them. By being informed, you enable yourself to make the best decisions regarding your work and personal life.


California Child Labor Laws


Labor Laws for Minors Under 16 Years of Age

In California, minors under the age of 16 are subject to certain restrictions regarding working hours and permitted occupations. For instance, during the school year, you may work up to 3 hours on school days, 8 hours on non-school days, and 18 hours per week max. However, in the summer, your working hours may increase. It is important to note that some exceptions apply, such as minors under 14 engaging in odd jobs like yard work or babysitting.

Labor Laws for Minors Aged 16 and 17

For those aged 16 and 17, California child labor laws allow you to work in a broad range of jobs, with some restrictions. You must still adhere to working hours limitations and are prohibited from working in hazardous occupations. Additionally, you might be required to attend school under the provisions of the Education Code, depending on your circumstances.

Prohibited Occupations for Minors in California

Regardless of whether you are under 16 or aged 16 and 17, certain occupations are strictly prohibited for minors in California. These hazardous jobs include, but are not limited to:

  • Exposure to harmful chemicals or substances
  • Operating heavy machinery or power tools
  • Demolition and excavation work


For 16 and 17-year-olds specifically, you are also prohibited from working in any obscene, indecent, or immoral capacity. It is crucial to be aware of these restrictions for your safety and well-being in the workplace.


Hiring Laws in California


When hiring employees in California, it is essential for both employers and employees to be aware of the state’s labor laws and regulations. This helps ensure a fair and safe working environment for all parties involved.

As an employer, you must follow California’s strict laws regarding antidiscrimination and equal employment opportunities. This means you cannot discriminate against potential employees based on factors such as race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, or sexual orientation. Additionally, you must abide by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) which prohibits discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the workplace.

California has specific regulations regarding background checks, including limitations on the use of credit reports and criminal history. Before conducting a background check on a job applicant, you should be familiar with the Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act and California Labor Code Section 432.7 to ensure you are in compliance.

When determining salary and compensation for your employees, you must adhere to California’s minimum wage laws. Currently, the state’s minimum wage is set at $14 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees, and it is scheduled to be increased to $15 per hour starting January 1, 2023 source.

In California, there are also specific regulations regarding rest periods, meal breaks, and overtime pay to ensure the well-being of your employees. This includes providing adequate rest periods, meal breaks, and properly compensating employees for any overtime hours worked. Familiarize yourself with the California Labor Code to ensure you maintain compliance and avoid any potential legal issues.

As an employee in California, it is crucial to understand your rights and protections under the state’s labor laws. This includes the right to a fair and non-discriminatory hiring process, protection in the workplace, and fair compensation. By staying knowledgeable about California labor laws, you can help ensure your rights are protected and maintain a safe working environment.


Cal-COBRA Laws


Cal-COBRA is a California state law that allows employees to retain their group health plan coverage in certain situations. If you experience a qualifying life event, such as a job loss or change in hours, Cal-COBRA enables you to continue receiving health benefits for up to 36 months.

The law applies to employers with group health plans covering between two and 19 employees. This coverage extension is particularly beneficial for individuals who may not qualify for the federal COBRA program, as Cal-COBRA offers a more inclusive alternative.

It’s essential to meet the required deadlines when applying for Cal-COBRA coverage. Missing application deadlines may result in a loss of your eligibility for continued health benefits. For detailed information on deadlines, consult the California Department of Managed Health Care.

To make the most of the Cal-COBRA provisions, it’s crucial to understand your rights and responsibilities. Familiarizing yourself with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) can provide a more comprehensive understanding of your options when it comes to maintaining health coverage under various circumstances.

In conclusion, Cal-COBRA is a valuable resource for California employees navigating transitions in their work life. Staying informed about the law and its provisions can help you protect your health coverage and ensure a smooth transition in case of job loss or other qualifying events.


Termination Laws in California


In California, the termination of employment is governed by various labor laws to protect both employees and employers. As an employee working in California, it’s essential to be aware of these laws to ensure your rights are not violated.

Final Paycheck in California

When your employment is terminated, you are entitled to receive your final paycheck. In the state of California, the timeline for receiving your final paycheck depends on the circumstances of your termination:

  • If you are fired or laid off, your employer must pay you all of your wages, including accrued vacation pay, immediately at the time of termination.
  • If you quit and give your employer at least 72 hours notice, you must receive your final paycheck on your last day of work.
  • If you quit without giving 72 hours notice, your employer must provide your final paycheck within 72 hours of your last day of work.

Keep in mind that any unpaid overtime or other compensation should also be included in your final paycheck.

Mass Layoff Notification in California

According to the California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, employers are required to provide a 60-day notice period before implementing mass layoffs, plant closures, or relocating their operations. This law applies to employers with 75 or more employees, whether full-time or part-time. The purpose of the notification is to protect employees by giving them ample time to prepare for the upcoming unemployment, seek new job opportunities or to enroll in retraining courses.

Moreover, under the WARN Act, if your employer fails to provide the required 60-day notice, you may be entitled to compensation for each day of violation, up to a maximum of 60 days.

To be confident, knowledgeable, and clear about your rights, familiarize yourself with the termination laws in California. This will help you ensure that you receive fair treatment, compensation, and a chance to prepare for any potential employment changes.


Occupational Safety in California


In California, occupational safety is a top priority, and it’s important for both employers and employees to be aware of the relevant laws and regulations. One of the key agencies responsible for enforcing these regulations is Cal/OSHA, which stands for California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

As an employer, you have several responsibilities under the California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973 and Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations. Some of the most important responsibilities include providing a safe and healthy workplace, ensuring the use of safe work practices, and providing necessary training to employees.

To comply with these regulations, it’s important for you to develop an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). This program should identify potential hazards in the workplace, establish procedures for correcting hazards, and provide training to employees on how to recognize and address workplace hazards.

Some specific areas of focus in California’s occupational safety regulations include:

  • Ergonomics: To reduce the risk of injuries from repetitive motion or poor ergonomic design, you should make sure that workstations and tools are designed with the employee’s comfort and safety in mind. This may include providing adjustable chairs, ergonomic keyboards, and other equipment as needed.
  • Heat exposure: With California’s warm climate, heat-related illnesses can be a concern for outdoor workers. It’s important to have procedures in place to ensure employees have access to shade, water, and rest breaks when working in high-temperature conditions.
  • Hazardous materials: If your workplace involves the use or handling of hazardous substances, you must provide employees with proper training, handling procedures, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize the risk of exposure.

As an employee, it’s also important for you to be aware of your rights and responsibilities when it comes to occupational safety. Know your right to request information about hazards in your workplace, seek training on safety procedures, and report unsafe conditions to your employer or Cal/OSHA.

By staying up-to-date on California’s occupational safety regulations and collaborating with your employer, you can help ensure a safe and healthy work environment for all.


Miscellaneous California Labor Laws


California Warehouse Quotas Law

California warehouse quotas law aims to improve working conditions in warehouses. The law addresses concerns related to unreasonable work quotas and performance standards. It requires employers to disclose their quotas to employees, and to provide a safe working environment. By understanding Labor Code Section 207, you can ensure your rights as an employee are protected.

Whistleblower Protection Laws

Whistleblower protection laws help protect employees from retaliation for reporting illegal or unethical practices within their company. They cover a wide range of issues, including health and safety, environmental violations, discrimination, and more. You can learn about California’s whistleblower protections by reviewing the International Labour Organization’s guide.

Independent Contractor ABC Test

The Independent Contractor ABC test is a standard used to determine if a worker should be classified as an employee or an independent contractor. This classification can impact your wage and hour entitlements as well as legal protections. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the three-part test to know your rights as a worker.

Background Check Laws

California’s background check laws govern the information that employers can consider when making hiring decisions. They protect your privacy and prevent discrimination based on past criminal convictions. It’s important to know your rights regarding background checks to protect yourself from potential discrimination.

Employer Use of Social Media

In California, employers are subject to restrictions when using social media to make employment decisions. Your personal social media accounts are protected under privacy laws, and employers cannot require you to provide login credentials. Stay informed about these laws to ensure your privacy rights are upheld.

Employee Monitoring Law

California’s employee monitoring law seeks to balance employers’ need for information and employees’ right to privacy. Employers must provide notice to employees before any electronic monitoring takes place. Understanding your rights related to workplace monitoring is crucial to protecting your privacy.

Drug and Alcohol Testing Laws

California’s drug and alcohol testing laws regulate when and how employers can conduct drug testing in the workplace. Knowing the rules and your rights regarding drug and alcohol testing can help you maintain a safe and fair work environment.

Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

Sexual harassment prevention training is mandatory for specific employees in California. The aim is to create a safe and inclusive work environment for all employees. Familiarize yourself with these training requirements to protect yourself and your coworkers.

Silenced No More Act

The Silenced No More Act protects employees from non-disclosure agreement (NDA) restrictions if they choose to speak out about workplace harassment or discrimination. The act promotes transparency and accountability within businesses. Learn about this significant law to protect your right to a safe and inclusive workplace.

Expense Reimbursements Law

California’s expense reimbursement law requires employers to reimburse employees for necessary expenses related to their work duties. By understanding the Labor Code related to wage theft, you can safeguard your rights to expense reimbursement.

Record Keeping Laws

Employers in California must maintain accurate records of employee hours worked, wages paid, and other essential information as established in California Labor Code. Understanding your rights related to record keeping can help ensure you’re compensated fairly and accurately. For Example, using a tool like ClockIt.

Wage Theft Prevention Act

The Wage Theft Prevention Act addresses wage theft and labor law violations. This law aims to protect employees from unpaid wages or inaccurate record-keeping practices. Be aware of wage theft prevention acts and more labor law violations to better protect your rights as an employee.




Basil Abbas

Basil is the Founder and CTO at ClockIt. With over 10 years of experience in the products space, there is no challenge that is too big in front of him be it sales, marketing, coding, etc. A people person and loves working in a startup for perfection.