California Court Approves FLSA Formula For Flat Bonuses

The California Court of Appeal provided employers with a small New Year’s gift for 2016: on January 14, in Alvarado v. Dart Container Corporation of California, it affirmed that an employer’s formula for calculating overtime, based upon federal law rather than upon a formula in the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) Manual, was lawful.  Continue reading

Los Angeles County To Raise Minimum Wage To $15 Per Hour

Late last month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors directed the County Counsel to take steps to increase the the minimum wage for the entire county in the same increments as in the ordinance passed recently by the L.A. City Council.  Ultimately, if this becomes law, the minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour throughout the entire county, not just in the city of Los Angeles and after 2021, the minimum wage will increase automatically along with the rate of inflation.  The law is expected to be considered by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors in the Fall.   Continue reading

“Black Swan” Internship Case Creates New Obstacles For Employers In California

In California, internships have always been viewed as a trade-off between prestigious employers and young students looking to get a foot in the proverbial door.  College students and graduates looking for highly-coveted positions in insular Hollywood and Silicon Valley companie take unpaid positions so they can make connections to build a network.  Because internships usually provide a “win-win,” there has been very little litigation over the propriety of those arrangements.  But, in 2013 a federal District Court in New York found that interns on the movie Black Swan were entitled to pursue a class action seeking millions of dollars in unpaid wages and overtime and studios and tech employers immediately took note. Continue reading

Changes Afoot To The Minimum Wage In California

Today, the Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 to make the City the largest in the United States to have a minimum wage to $15/hour, a raise which will fully go into effect in 2020. Currently, the minimum wage is $9/hour and it will rise to $10.50/hour on July 1, 2016 for private employers with 25 or more employees (employers with fewer than 25 employees will have an extra year to comply). Continue reading

Governor Signs California Minimum Wage Increase Into Law

As expected, Governor Brown signed legislation to raise California’s minimum wage today.  The new law raises the minimum wage to $9 per hour on July 1, 2014 and to $10 per hour on January 1, 2016.  Thus far, it is the only bill to be passed into legislation this year that the California Chamber of Commerce designated as a “job killer.”  Employers should be aware that the minimum wage increase will also affect the minimum salary that can be paid to employees to make them exempt from California onerous overtime requirements.  In order to be exempt from the overtime laws, employees must be paid a monthly salary equivalent to no less than two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment.

- Amy Durgan

The California Minimum Wage Is About To Increase

Last week, the California Legislature voted to increase the state minimum wage to $9.00/hour by July 2014 and to $10.00/hour by January 2016.  The bill passed both the Assembly and the Senate by significant majorities and Governor Jerry Brown supports it. Unless other states increase their minimum wage, California will have the highest minimum wage in the country.

In some areas, city ordinances already make the minimum wage higher than this bill.  In San Francisco, the minimum wage is $10.55/hour and in San Jose it is already $10.00/hour.

The minimum wage increase will also affect the minimum salary that can be paid to employees to make them exempt from California onerous overtime requirements.  In order to be exempt from the overtime laws, employees must be paid a monthly salary equivalent to no less than two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment.

We will keep you updated on any further developments with this law.

- Dan Handman

Will The State’s Minimum Wage Go Up?

In President Barack Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address, he called on Congress to raise the Federal Minimum Wage to $9.00 per hour.  Currently, California’s Minimum Wage is $8.00 per hour with a few exceptions.  If this new Federal law is passed, all California employees will be entitled to earn the new national Minimum Wage of $9.00 per hour, representing an increase of 12.5%. 

While it is unlikely that any minimum wage increase would be passed through a divided Congress, the President’s comments may prompt California’s Legislature, controlled by a Democratic super-majority, to seek a similar increase.  Currently, California has the lowest minimum wage of any state on the West Coast (though the City of San Francisco has a minimum wage of $10.24/hour).  Late last year, a bill was introduced in the Assembly which would raise the minimum wage to $9.25 per hour by January 1, 2016, but it has not been passed.  We will keep you posted on any developments at the state and federal level.  

- Olivia Perry

Voters In San Jose and Long Beach Change Local Employment Laws

On election night, San Jose, California voters passed a measure increasing the city’s minimum wage from $8.00 to $10.00/hour.  The state’s minimum wage is currently $8.00.  The wage increase is likely to take effect in March 2013.

California voters in the city of Long Beach passed their own wage measure.  Measure N requires nonunionized hotel operators with at least 100 rooms to pay employees an hourly rate of $13.00 or allow them to unionize.  The initiative also requires that hotels pay an automatic 2 percent annual raise to employees and provide full-time hotel employees with a minimum of five paid sick days per year.  If hotels agree to enter into collective bargaining with employees and unions, then the wage mandates do not apply.  Opponents argued that the hotels are being forced to unionize and the wage increase will make it more difficult for Long Beach’s tourism industry to compete with neighboring Los Angeles.  Measure N is expected to take effect by the end of the year. 

-Kristin Oliveira (San Francisco)