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October 21, 2021

Best Practices: Minimum Wage Reminders

Employers are required to pay all nonexempt employees in compliance with state, federal and local wage and hour laws. This section provides an overview of applicable state, federal and local laws governing the payment of wages and overtime pay.

Minimum Wage
State minimum wage rates differ but are higher than the federal minimum wage. Employers must keep in mind that local minimum wage rates may exceed state minimums. In all cases, employers are required to pay the higher of any applicable federal, state, or local minimum wage. Non-exempt employees must be at least a minimum wage for all hours worked including all hours designated as overtime. The following minimum wage rates will take effect on January 1, 2022.

  • California: $15.00 per hour (Applies to employers with 26 or more employees. Employers in California with 25 or fewer employees will have a minimum wage of $14.00 per hour.)
  • Arizona: $12.90 per hour
  • Colorado: TBD
  • New Mexico: TBD

Click the link for a list of City and County minimum wage rates.

Overtime or premium pay is required under federal, state, and local wage and hours laws for all hours worked over a specifically mandated number of workweeks or workdays. Employers should become familiar with their state and local minimum wage rates, effective dates, and projected increase dates.

Specific to California Agricultural Employers
California Wage Orders issued by the state’s Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC Orders) govern various wage and hour issues such as wages earned, hours of work, working conditions, rest and meal periods, overtime, uniforms and equipment, minimum wage, mandatory day off, and reporting time pay. IWC Orders are similar to federal statues, but with important distinctions. Each IWC Order is broken down by industry or occupation. Three specific IWC Orders relate specifically to agricultural employees:

  • IWC Order #14: Applies to employees involved in farming activities up through harvest (e.g., employees working for growers, farm labor contractors or an agricultural service company).
  • IWC Order #13: Applies to employees involved in preparation of products for market which are performed on the farm for the farmer’s own crop.
  • IWC Order #8: Applies to industries handling products after harvest (e.g, packing houses, wineries, etc.).
  • IWC Order #4: Applies to agricultural employees in clerical and professional occupations if there is no industry order in effect.

Upcoming Changes
In addition to Labor Code and IWC Order wage and hour protections California enacted major changes to overtime provisions for agricultural employers under Wage Order 14. The new overtime provisions have been phased in over the past several years with the last projected change occurring for large employers January 1, 2022 and small employers January 1, 2025.  For large employers (26 or more), overtime will kick in after 8 hours in a day and 40 hours in a week.  For small employers (25 or fewer), the phase-in of 9.5 hours in a day and 55 hours in a week begins January 1. Visit the California Department of Industrial Relations’ website for  a schedule of upcoming changes and important FAQs.