Wages And Benefits: Frequently Asked Questions

In many instances, wages and benefits for employees are governed by federal and California law. The attorneys of Bononi Law Group, LLP, represent employer and employee clients in the Greater Los Angeles area in wage and benefits matters. As you consider or manage your legal challenge in this area, you may find the wage and benefits legal information below helpful.

Bononi Law Group, LLP, has resolved hundreds of wage and benefits disputes in our 20-plus years of experience handling employment law cases. For further information about wage and benefits law, visit our wage claim page or contact our firm at 866-295-7512.

Minimum Wage

Q. What law sets the minimum wage?

A. The federal minimum wage is set by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This statute governs minimum wages, overtime pay, record keeping and child labor. It was enacted in 1938 and remains the primary federal law that covers minimum wage and overtime pay.

Q. How often does the minimum wage increase?

A. There is no schedule for adjusting the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 per hour since a July 2009 increase. Most states have enacted their own minimum wage provisions that supersede federal minimums. For example, in 2013, California raised the state minimum wage, which will be $9 per hour effective July 1, 2014, and $10 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2016.

Q. Who is covered by the federal minimum wage?

A. The FLSA and its minimum wage provisions apply to businesses engaged in interstate commerce at a certain level. It also covers hospitals and many other health care organizations, public schools and other educational institutions, and federal, state and local government agencies. It also covers many domestic workers if they earn above a certain amount.

Family And Medical Leave

Q. Can I take time off work to care for a sick family member or if I get sick myself?

A. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides for extended leave, usually unpaid, so that employees can take care of themselves and their families without fear of losing their jobs. It can be complicated to determine whether an individual employee is covered by this law, so consulting a knowledgeable employment law attorney may be helpful.

Overtime Pay

Q. Am I eligible for overtime pay?

A. Whether an employee is eligible for overtime is governed by the FLSA. The law stipulates that covered employers must pay overtime after 40 hours of work a week, usually at the rate of time and a half. However, some employees are exempted from the law and are not eligible for overtime. Employees who are covered by a labor union contract may also have different provisions. Determining eligibility for overtime pay can be controversial and may require the advice of a knowledgeable employment law attorney.


Q. Where can I find more information about wages, hours and required benefits?

A. Several websites have comprehensive information about wages, hours and benefits under federal or California law. These include:

  • The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the federal Department of Labor enforces laws such as minimum wage and overtime laws. http://www.dol.gov/whd/

  • FairPay, another Department of Labor website, is geared toward employees. http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/fairpay/

  • The California Department of Industrial Relations provides information about many aspects of state employment law, including minimum wage, overtime and workplace safety. http://www.dir.ca.gov/default.html

Determining whether an individual employee's wages and hours are governed by state or federal law can be complex. Employees and employers who need further information about the requirements and provisions of these laws may wish to contact an employment attorney to learn about their rights and options.