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Do you know what California minimum wage is for you?

Did you know that as of Jan. 1 of this year, the California minimum wage was raised by 11.1 percent over the previous minimum wage? The minimum wage is now $10 per hour for many workers; previously, it was only $9. California's minimum wage is also almost $3 more than the federal minimum wage, which is still set at $7.25 at the time of this post.

While California residents can be happy that their state puts a higher minimum wage into effect, for some workers, the fact that California requires the state minimum wage be paid despite certain industries might be even more important. In many states, tipped workers do not have to be paid even the federal minimum wage. Instead, tipped workers, such as wait staff in a restaurant, only have to be paid $2.13 per hour, which is the federal minimum wage for tipped workers, plus their share of tips received.

In California, however, tipped workers must be paid at least the state minimum wage plus the appropriate share of tips received. Since the United States Department of Labor defines a tipped worker as someone who consistently receives $30 or more in tips per month, workers in such industries can't always rely on $2.13 an hour to pay bills, which makes receiving at least the state minimum wage important.

Receiving correct pay isn't just important to tipped workers or those dealing with a minimum wage position. Anyone who does work for someone else likely wants to be compensated appropriated for the job done. It's not just a question of fairness -- it's actually a matter of the law. Employers are required to compensate workers as agreed in contracts or hiring agreements. If you feel you are not being compensated as agreed or your employer is failing to pay even the minimum wage for hours that you have worked, then you might have a legal claim against your employer. Working with a legal professional can help you assert your rights.

Source: State of California Department of Industrial Relations, "History of California Minimum Wage," accessed March 02, 2016

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