BASIC WORKPLACE “RULES OF THE ROAD” « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


2018 California Wage Orders Overview

The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) through the California Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) created and continues to refine 17 wage orders (Wage Orders) to regulate employee pay and working conditions by applicable industry or occupation. For example, Wage Order 4 applies to professional, technical, clerical, and mechanical occupations; Wage Order 9 regulates the transportation industry, and Wage Order 12 addresses the motion picture industry.

After determining which Wage Order(s) apply(ies) to a business, employers must prominently post the most recent version(s) at the workplace, including any job site.

Among other things, the Wage Orders address:

Definitions. Who or what is an employer, employee, wages, workweek, alternative workweeks, commission pay, etc.

Exemptions from Overtime Pay. These include the criteria to qualify a worker for the administrative, executive and/or professional exemptions. See also, California Exemptions from Overtime Pay (January, 2012)

Overtime. How to calculate and when to pay daily, weekly and double time rates. See, The Basics of Overtime (May, 2018).

Alternative Workweek Schedules. California law recognizes a workday exceeding eight hours in a 24 hours period without overtime payments under limited circumstances, also called an alternative workweek schedule. The Wage Orders explain how to implement a state-approved alternative workweek schedule.

Meal and Rest Periods.  General rules for when and how to provide employee meal and rest breaks. Several Wage Orders contain exceptions or variations to the general standards for given industries, including those rules permitted in certain industries, such as Construction, Drilling, Logging and Mining (Wage Order 16), Residential Care (Wage Order 15), Health Care (Wage Order 4 and Wage Order 5), Motion Pictures (Wage Order 12), and Broadcast Industry (Wage Order 11). See also, Required meal periods and rest breaks revisited (April, 2018).

Minimum Wage. California’s statewide minimum wage rates will increase annually until reaching $15 per hour in 2022 for larger employers and in 2023 for those with 25 or fewer.  See also, California’s Gradual Increases in Minimum Wage, to Reach $15.00 Per Hour by January 1, 2022 (April, 2016). A growing number of cities and counties are requiring even higher rates for employees within their boundaries.  See, for example, Mid-Year Changes (June, 2018).

Other Workplace Rules and Conditions: These include, for example, rules and standards for “reporting time pay” (the minimum an employee must receive on a day he/she “reports”/shows up at the workplace but the employer has little or no work to be performed), recordkeeping, cash shortages and breakage, uniforms and equipment, appropriate changing and resting facilities, workplace temperature, and suitable seating.

For further assistance, please contact one of our attorneys Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Cindy Bamforth

July 13, 2018