Whether you're the manager of a fast food restaurant or running a dry cleaning service, every business should understand the minimum wage guidelines, especially in California. With the rise of costs, alongside inflation, employers should know the current minimum wage for the year and the easiest way to pay their workers.
Since the minimum wage rate in California is different for smaller and larger businesses, we've gathered all the information here for easy referral. If you've got 26 or more employees working in your business at a time, then you'll be expected to pay a slightly higher minimum wage than a smaller business with fewer workers. While there isn't any planned increase to minimum wages, the new minimum wage in California was effective January 1, 2024.
What is the state minimum wage of California?
The minimum wage in California for 2024 is $16.00 per hour for hourly employees. If a business has more than 26 employees, the minimum wage still remains $16.00 per hour.
While the state minimum wage in California remains $16.00, some specific cities and counties have a higher minimum wage. For example, the minimum wage in West Hollywood is $19.08 an hour, according to the LA Times.
Yearly minimum wages in California
Below is a chart of the minimum wage in California over the past few years. At the time of writing this blog, there is no plan for a minimum wage increase in 2025. However, due to the demand for a higher living wage, it is possible that a California law might require employers to pay higher minimum wages in the upcoming years. If you're a business with more than 26 or more employees, be sure to do your research and stay updated on whether the minimum wage will increase or remain the same in January. Higher minimum wages slotted for the current year are effective January 1, 2024.
Other city and county minimum wage rates in California
While California enforces a state minimum wage of $16.00 per hour, most California cities and counties will have a higher minimum wage than that current rate, according to the California Labor Commissioner website. West Hollywood has the highest city minimum wage at $19.08 per hour. Oakland has the lowest county-enforced minimum wage of $16.50 per hour. Most cities and counties have a minimum wage that falls between $16 and $19 per hour. San Jose laws, for example, mandate employers to pay a minimum wage rate of $17.55 for their employees.
The following chart uses information from the U.C. Berkeley Labor Commissioner website.
What is the minimum wage in San Francisco?
The minimum wage in San Francisco is $18.07 per hour. As required by San Francisco labor ordinances, employers must place an official poster with the current minimum wage in their business. Most employers place the poster by the entrance or another visible area that can be seen by customers and paid employees. If there is another minimum wage increase, a new poster must be printed and placed in the business to reflect current living wages.
What is the minimum wage in Los Angeles?
The minimum wage in the city of Los Angeles is $16.78 per hour. If a business is operating in Los Angeles County, which is distinctly different from the city itself, employers can expect to pay slightly higher wages. The minimum wage in L.A. County is $16.90 per hour. Since the minimum wage rates are different for the city and county of Los Angeles, always check the LA County website to see if the different labor laws will affect your business in other ways. Again, employees can expect a higher minimum wage effective January 1, 2024.
What is the minimum wage in San Diego?
The minimum wage in San Diego is $16.85 per hour. Unlike other cities and counties, San Diego labor ordinances require businesses of any size to pay their employees the same wage. If a business has 28 employees, those workers will be paid $16.85. If a business has 6 employees, those workers will still be paid the same amount.
Is the statewide minimum wage rate different for restaurants?
Yes, the minimum wage in California is different for certain restaurants. In a new law signed by Gavin Newsom, the hourly minimum wage for a fast food worker will increase from $16.21 to $20.00. This new hourly wage will begin on April 1, 2024, instead of the usual January 1 start date.
How can small business owners check local minimum wage ordinances?
To track any changes to your city or county's minimum wage laws, check your official city or county's website. UC Berkeley's Labor Center lists the specific minimum wage increases effective January 1, 2024, in different cities. You can bookmark the page for reference in case the minimum wage rate in your city changes within the next year. It's also recommended to understand your labor costs by reviewing your profit and loss statement.
Does California have a tipped minimum wage?
No, California does not have a tipped minimum wage. Restaurants, in general, will pay the same minimum wage as other types of businesses for hourly workers, also known as non-exempt employees. Tipped wages and minimum wage rates do not apply to exempt employees since they're paid a salary instead of an hourly wage.
Full-service and counter-service establishments can take advantage of restaurant payroll software to help ensure they're compliant with local and state labor laws.
It isn’t easy keeping up with all the minimum wage changes, especially if you’re busy dealing with everything else to run your business. From managing customer expectations to making sure your employees are giving the best service possible, there’s a lot to running a business that most people don’t see from the front counter. Of course, with the rising cost of operating a business, the right technology can be your greatest resource to gain more time and money back into your day. With intuitive labor management, automatic payroll distribution, and even tip management embedded right into your point-of-sale system, you’ll have the tech that works the way you work.
DISCLAIMER: Everything here is just for informational purposes. The links and graphics may not be accurate and we encourage you to do your own research. Also, we can't guarantee results from following our advice. Always consult a professional for your specific situation.