The Ninth Circuit recently dismissed California minimum wage and overtime claims in a class action brought by drilling platform worker, Brian Newton, against his former employer, Parker Drilling, following the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Parker Drilling Mgmt. Servs. v. Newton, 139 S. Ct. 1881 (2019).

In that case, the Supreme Court determined

California has many requirements for the content of an employee wage statement, including this year’s new requirements for employees paid by a piece rate. Employees paid by piece rates must be separately compensated for rest and recovery periods and, where the employee does not earn at least minimum wage in addition to the piece rate, must be separately paid for non-productive time.  The amount of time for these periods, the applicable rates of pay, and gross wages for these periods is required to be on the wage statement. 
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California’s unfriendly business environment took another unprecedented step this week, with Governor Jerry Brown raising the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2022.  Governor Brown signed SB 3 into law on April 4, 2016. 

The new law annually increases the state minimum wage starting January 2017.  California’s minimum wage currently is $10.00 per hour.  California employers opposed the bill arguing the minimum wage increases will make it even more difficult for in-state producers to compete with out-of-state employers; employer advocacy groups also argued the bill will result in more employers leaving the state. 
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California Governor Jerry Brown just announced a compromise that would raise the state minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022 and head off competing union-backed ballot measures.  The proposal raises the current $10 minimum wage every January starting in 2017 until it reaches $15 in 2022.

Employers with fewer than 25 workers have an

California’s City of Santa Monica’s City Council has adopted an ordinance that enacts minimum wage and paid sick leave requirements for covered employees as well as new regulations pertaining to service charges and surcharges. Ordinance Number 2509 became effective on February 25, 2016, although its provisions will not be implemented until July 1, 2016.

The City Council authorized the City Manager to establish a working group to review and recommend technical adjustments to the adopted Ordinance.

We discuss key provisions below.

Minimum Wage Rates for Non-Hotel Sector Employees

Employers with at least 26 covered employees shall pay no less than the following hourly wages:

  • July 1, 2016 – $10.50
  • July 1, 2017 – $12.00
  • July 1, 2018 – $13.25
  • July 1, 2019 – $14.25
  • July 1, 2020 – $15.00

Employers with up to 25 employees will have an additional year to satisfy each of these pay rates. Therefore, hourly pay increases for smaller employers will start on July 1, 2017, at $10.50 per hour, reaching $15.00 per hour by July 1, 2021.
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Anyone paying attention to national politics knows increasing the minimum wage is a hot topic  being debated by employee and business groups.  While the debate rages, the Sacramento City Council decided not to wait for the feds or the state to act, and recently voted 6-3 to increase the Sacramento city minimum wage, as follows:
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On May 19, 2015, the Los Angeles City Council passed proposed legislation to considerably increase the City of Los Angeles’ minimum wage. The measure—which was approved by an overwhelming 14-1 vote—directs the City Attorney to write an Ordinance that will, if approved by a final vote of the Council and then the Mayor, increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020.
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In November 2014, Oakland voters passed Measure FF, which went into effect on March 2, 2015, and made changes to the City’s minimum wage, paid sick leave laws and hospitality service charges.

Minimum Wage Increase

Effective March 2, 2015, the minimum wage in Oakland was raised from $9.00/hour to $12.25/hour for any employee who performs at least two hours of work within Oakland in a workweek. This law applies to full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees.

Paid Sick Leave

As of March 2, 2015, employers must pay paid sick leave for employees who were employed on or before that date. Employers are permitted to restrict paid sick leave for employees hired after March 2, 2015; employers can opt not to allow these employees to use any accrued paid sick leave until their 90th calendar day of employment.


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Two Assembly Bills addressing employee wages in California recently were referred to legislative committees in late January and early February 2015.  Although early in the legislative process, both could have a palpable impact on employers doing business in California.

Senate Bill 3 – Minimum Wages

The first, Senate Bill (SB) 3, proposes to increase minimum wages twice more over the next two years.  Specifically, SB 3 seeks an increase to $11 per hour effective January 1, 2016, and then $13 per hour effective July 1, 2017.  Further, the bill proposes an annual automatic minimum wage adjustment, beginning January 1, 2019, to correspond with the rate of inflation, unless the average percentage of inflation for the previous year was negative.  Thus, should SB 3 pass, employers can expect multiple additional minimum wage increases over the next two years, followed by potential annual increases every year thereafter.
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In special session on July 14, 2014, the San Diego City Council voted 6-3 in favor of enacting the San Diego Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance. The ordinance seeks to raise the San Diego minimum wage over the next three years, and mandates that employers within San Diego provide a minimum amount of earned paid sick leave, beyond that required by recently enacted California state law AB 1522 [click here for information regarding the requirements of AB 1522].

Although San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer vetoed the ordinance August 8, 2014, the San Diego City Council overrode the veto on August 18.
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