You take a job, knowing that it pays minimum wage, but you have bills to pay and you’re simply looking for any form of employment. You do the math and it should still be enough to help you with your budget every month.
But then you get a paycheck and it is around half as much as you expected to be paid. When you ask your boss about it, they tell you that they are paying you the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour. You did not realize you would be paid so low, and you cannot believe that this is legal. Is it?
The higher minimum wage
The problem here is that the federal minimum wage is technically set at $7.25 an hour. However, workers are entitled to the higher minimum wage if there is a difference between the wage set at the state level and that set at the federal level.
In California, the state has set its own minimum wage at $15.50 per hour, as of January 1, 2023. That is the smallest amount that you can ever be paid for working in California, and it overrides the federal minimum wage. Your boss would be breaking the law, even if they are citing those federal regulations.
In some other states, no minimum wages have been enacted at the state level, so workers do get the federal minimum. But California is not one of those states and it’s very important to understand exactly how much you deserve for your time. If you’re not being paid properly, you also need to know about the legal steps that you can take. No one deserves to be paid so little in California.