Thinking of filing a wage claim for unpaid minimum wages? Strauss & Strauss, APC represent their clients in minimum wage claims throughout California. Here is some information for you.
What Is the Current California Minimum Wage?
The current minimum wage in California is $13.00 (for employers with 25 employees or less) or $14.00 (for employers with 26 employees or more). The current federal minimum wage is $7.25. California non-exempt employees must be paid at least the California minimum wage.
A California non-exempt employee who is paid less than minimum wage can file a wage claim to collect the difference between what they were paid and what they should have been making at minimum wage.
John works as an office assistant. His employer pays John $50 every day, regardless of how many hours John works. Every day, John works eight hours. Last week, John worked eight hours every day of the five-day work week. John’s employer paid him $250 for that week. But, when you divide the number of hours John worked that week (40) by the amount he was paid ($250), he was making $6.25 per hour. John must have been making at least minimum wage ($14.00 per hour), which means that he should have made $560 for that week. John can file a minimum wage claim to collect the difference between what he was paid ($250) and what he should have been paid ($560), which comes out to $310. If John had been underpaid by $310 every week since he started work one year ago and he never missed a day of work, he would be owed $16,120 for unpaid minimum wages.
What Are Liquidated Damages?
A California non-exempt employee who wins a minimum wage claim is entitled to recover “liquidated damages” in an amount equal to whatever is owed for the minimum wage violation.
John is owed $3,640 for unpaid minimum wages, as set forth above. John can possibly get a “liquidated damages” penalty added to what he is owed if he wins his wage claim. The liquidated damages amount would be the same as what he’s owed for unpaid minimum wages, $3,640. That means his minimum wage claim could add up to $7,280 in unpaid minimum wages and liquidated damages.
Are there Other Penalties Available?
If it can be shown that an employer willfully failed to pay minimum wage to an employee, the employer can be liable for “waiting time” penalties under Labor Code section 203. These penalties consist of a maximum of 30 days of wages.
John wins his wage claim, and it is determined that his employer willfully failed to pay him minimum wage. John has been out of work for over 30 days. John can claim waiting time penalties of 30 days of wages. Thirty days of wages, in John’s case, equals $1,920. John may recover this penalty in addition to the unpaid minimum wages and liquidated damages.
What Industries Are Most Affected by Minimum Wage Violations?
We have represented the following types of individuals who worked for less than minimum wage: Nannies, resident apartment managers, housekeepers, car wash employees, caretakers, security guards, etc.
I Was Not Paid Minimum Wage for Every Hour I Worked, What Do I Do?
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