1. California’s Minimum Wage Increase:
    1. Effective January 1, 2024, California’s minimum wage is $16 per hour for all employers, exceeding the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
    2. Certain exceptions exist for fast-food restaurants and healthcare facilities, which have their minimum wage requirements starting April 1, 2024, and June 1, 2024, respectively.
  2. Industry-Specific Minimum Wage Rates:
    1. Fast-food chain restaurants covered by the Fast Food Worker Minimum Wage law will see an increase to $20 per hour starting April 1, 2024.
    2. Healthcare facilities covered by the Health Care Worker Minimum Wage Law will follow different schedules, with minimum wages ranging from $18 to $23 per hour starting June 1, 2024.
  3. Overtime Rates and Exemptions:
    1. The increase in the minimum wage also affects overtime rates, with employers required to pay a minimum of $24 per hour for overtime (time and a half) or $32 per hour for double-time.
    2. Employers must ensure compliance with exempt classifications and salary basis tests for exemptions.
  4. Minimum Wage Compliance:
    1. California law prohibits employers from averaging hourly rates to determine compliance, requiring examination of each work hour independently.
    2. Employers using “activity-based” compensation systems should be cautious, as non-productive tasks may need separate compensation.
  5. Local Minimum Wage Ordinances and Exceptions:
    1. Some cities and counties in California have local minimum wage rates higher than the state rate.
    2. Exceptions to the minimum wage include learners, apprentices, camp counselors, and certain family members of the employer.
    3. The article also notes the phase-out of the subminimum wage certificate program for individuals with disabilities, concluding by January 1, 2025.


California’s minimum wage increase, effective January 1, 2024, to $16 per hour, sets a substantial precedent, surpassing the federal minimum wage. The state introduces industry-specific rates, with fast-food workers and healthcare professionals witnessing increases to $20 and $18 to $23 per hour, respectively, by April 1 and June 1, 2024. This change ripples into overtime compensation, mandating employers to pay $24 and $32 per hour for time and a half and double-time, respectively. 

Emphasizing meticulous compliance, the law forbids averaging hourly rates, urging scrutiny of each work hour. Local variations persist, with some cities exceeding the state minimum, and exceptions for specific job categories. Notably, the subminimum wage certificate program for individuals with disabilities will phase out by January 1, 2025. Employers face a dynamic landscape necessitating careful consideration and adherence to evolving regulations.