California enjoys one of the highest minimum wage rates in the country, at $8 per hour. However, it is well known that at this rate making a living usually requires working 2 jobs and spending minimally. Moreover, California’s minimum wage has not increased in 5 years. However, the California senate is currently considering AB 10, which would raise the minimum wage in California to $9.25 over the next several years in order to keep up with inflation. The bill is currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee, it has passed the state Assembly by a wide margin.

But the people of San Jose aren’t waiting for the new bill to pass before they take action. San Jose recently passed an ordinance increasing the minimum wage to $10 per hour, effective as of March 11 of this year. The measure began as a ballot initiative started by students at San Jose State University. San Jose is the second city in California to raise its minimum wage to more than the state minimum, the only other city with a higher minimum wage is San Francisco.

According to the bureau of labor statistics 127,000 workers in California earned the minimum wage or less. Unfortunately, thousands of California workers earn less than the minimum wage due to unfair labor practices. California law requires all employees to pay their employees at the minimum wage. There are some exceptions for independent contractors, volunteer workers, and educational internships; however these exceptions require the organizations taking charge of the volunteers or interns to follow guidelines in terms of the type of work they can engage in; and independent contractors must be correctly classified, not merely classified as independent contractors to allow the employers to avoid having to pay minimum wage or provide other rights.

When employers fail to pay their workers the proper minimum wage the California Labor Commissioner’s Office can fine the employer for each violation. The employee can also hire an attorney to bring a private lawsuit and recover the fines under the private attorney general act.

If you have a claim against your employer for unpaid wages contact an experienced wage and hour attorney today. In many cases acting quickly can make a significant impact on the amount you are able to recover. To learn more schedule a free consultation with the California employment attorneys of the Law Offices of Michael S. Cunningham, LLP. Call (951) 213-4786 today for a free consultation with the California employment attorneys of the Law Offices of Michael S. Cunningham, LLP. Call (951) 213-4786 today.

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