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Thinking of filing a wage claim for unpaid minimum wage? Strauss Law Group and Palay Law Firm represent their clients in minimum wage claims throughout California. Here is some information for you. [Minimum wage FAQ section.]

What is the Current California Minimum Wage?

The current minimum wage in California is $8.00. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25. California non-exempt employees must be paid at least the California minimum wage. [Click here for a historic California and federal minimum wage chart.]

A California non-exempt employee who is paid less than minimum wage can file a wage claim to collect the difference between what he or she was paid and what he or she should have been making at minimum wage.


John employee works as an office assistant. His employer pays John $50 every day regardless of how many hours John works. Every day John works 8 hours. Last week, John worked 8 hours every day of the 5-day work week. John’s employer paid him $250 for that week. But when you divide the number of hours John worked that week (40) by the amount he was paid ($250), he really was making $6.25 per hour. John must have been making at least minimum wage ($8.00 per hour), which means that he should have made $320 for that week. John can file a minimum wage wage claim to collect the difference between what he was paid ($250) and what he should have been paid ($320), which comes out to $70. If John had been underpaid by $70 every week since he started work one year ago and he never missed a day of work, he would be owed $3,640 for unpaid minimum wages.

What are Liquidated Damages?

A California non-exempt employee who wins a minimum wage wage claim is entitled to recover “liquidated damages” in an amount equal to whatever is owed for the minimum wage violation.


John is owed $3,640 for unpaid minimum wages, as set forth above. John can possibly get a “liquidated damages” penalty added to what he is owed if he wins his wage claim. The liquidated damages amount would be the same as what he’s owed for unpaid minimum wages, $3,640. That means his minimum wage claim could add up to $7,280 in unpaid minimum wages and liquidated damages.

Are there Other Penalties Available?

If it can be shown that an employer wilfully failed to pay minimum wage to an employee, the employer can be liable for “waiting time” penalties under Labor Code section 203. These penalties consist of a maximum of 30 days of wages.


John wins his wage claim and it is determined that his employer wilfully failed to pay him minimum wage. John has been out of work for over 30 days. John can claim waiting time penalties of 30 days of wages. 30 days of wages in John’s case equal $1,920. John may recover this penalty in addition to the unpaid minimum wages and liquidated damages.

What Industries are Most Affected by Minimum Wage Violations?

We have seen and represented individuals the following types of individuals who worked less than minimum wage: nannies, resident apartment managers, housekeepers, car wash employees, caretakers, security guards, etc.

I Was Not Paid Minimum Wage for Every Hour I Worked, What Do I Do?

if you think you have a claim for unpaid minimum wages, contact Strauss Law Group and Palay Law Firm for a free case evaluation by email or phone at (877) 641-9992.


  1. Confidential

    Would you handle a case where an employer classified me as an independent contractor to avoid paying me for 6 weeks of work? I was a telemarketer. He provided the office, had set hours, and a script I was to follow. I signed nothing for the employer, everything was verbal.

    I filed a complaint with the Labor Commissioner 5 weeks ago and have heard nothing from them.

    I worked six days a week and worked out the wages to be just over 2K, with wait time, it’s now 3K. Would you handle this case or is it too small? Can we get penalties or anything else?

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