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Paying Less Than Minimum Wage Rates

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When Can You Pay Less Than The Minimum Wage

Disclaimer: Read this with caution, we have not updated this page and the actual rates are subject to change. Consult with your attorney before implementing a program to pay less than the minimu wage.

Under federal law an employer may pay newly hired employees under the age of 20 less than minimum wage, but no less than $4.25 per hour, but only for the first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment. Increases in the minimum wage rate apparently do not affect this rate, the statute specifies that it shall be $4.25 and makes no mention of any increases relative to the federal minimum wage rate. If an employer hires a new employee and pays less than minimum wage, under federal law the employer is prohibited from reducing the hours of a current employee or to reduce the pay of a current employee. The employer cannot replace an existing employee with a new employee earning less than minimum wage.

Federal law also allows employers to pay only 75% of the federal minimum wage to learners, apprentices and students. To pay less than minimum wage under these programs the employer is required to obtain a certificate from the wage and hour division. The certificate will specify the rate the employer is allowed to pay. A learner is an individual that has not worked a specified number of hours for that particular industry in the last three years and that worker can be employed at less than minimum wage. This applies only to certain industries and it does not include clerical or office jobs.

A student is one enrolled in an accredited school and working on a part time basis as part of a vocational training program. The student is not allowed to spend more than 40 hours per week in combination of class instruction and work. If the student is a minor the employer has to comply with statutes applying to minors. An apprentice is an employee that is at least 16 years old and as part of the job is employed to learn a skilled trade that is within the guidelines set under 29 CFR § 520.201. Full time students employed by the school or agriculture or in retail services can be paid 85% of the minimum wage, but a certificate is also specifying the rate the employer may pay. Students are not allowed to work more than 20 hours per week except during vacation from school. It is as retail business the total number of hours paid at less than minimum wage should not exceed 10% of the total hours worked by all employees.

Under federal law employers are also allowed to pay disabled individuals less than minimum wage, but a certificate is also required. Each state may enact its own statutes, but they cannot offer less protection. Under California law employers are permitted to pay less than minimum wage, but the California minimum wage rate is much higher than federal law. In California learners can be paid less than the minimum wage rate for the first 160 hours only. Learners’ wages and learners are defined differently under California law. For the purposes of California learners wage laws, a learner is a defined as natural person that is an employee and has no previous experience or no similar experience. The learners pay rate is no less than 85% of the minimum wage rate and it rounded to the nearest nickel.

California also allows for payment of less than minimum wage for minors. A minor can be paid no less than 85% of the minimum wage rate rounded to the nearest nickel, and the employer is not allowed to have more than 25% of the total hours allocated to less than minimum wage rate minors. If the employer is a small business with less than 10 employees then the most minors allowed is three at less than minimum wage. These standards like federal law don’t apply during vacation periods. There is an exception for minors graduating high school; these minors that have graduated high school must be paid the minimum wage rate. Generally California minimum wage is higher than federal minimum wage rates, and 85% of the state minimum wage will often exceed the federal minimum wage rate, but employers employing minors need to careful that 85% of the state minimum wage rate does not fall below the federal minimum wage rate as there is no exception for minors under federal law. Under California law the employer or employee is required to obtain a license from the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to employ the handicapped and pay less than minimum wage.

I am an Orange County personal injury lawyer and this is my own personal website and the opinions and the content on this website are my own and may not reflect the opinions of my employer. I am solely responsible for the content.

Our cases are no win no fee accident claims. I work with several other personal injury lawyers. You will see testimonials, but keep in mind that the testimonial or endorsements do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. My opinions as to the value of whiplash injury claims are mine and mine only and may not necessarily reflect the value of your particular claim or the assessment of your particular case. I practice law in California only. I do not offer legal representation to claimants outside California.

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"Arnold Hernandez really works hard to win for you. He did a great job for me and he will for you." - Jane Larson

"This testimonial or endorsement of the personal injury attorney does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter."

Look at this website as a starting point, but do not rely on this information, it is not legal advise and the law changes frequently. Call me and speak with an Orange County personal injury lawyer at my office before making any decision that may affect your legal rights. I practice law in California and do not offer legal representation in any other state. I represent plaintiffs in personal injury, wrongful death, and unpaid overtime claims. Cases are accepted on a contingency basis, meaning lawyer fees are not due until I win at trial or obtain a favorable result for you. To discuss your specific situation call me.

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My clients have been involved in all types of accidents including dog attacks, forklift accidents, car accidents, commercial truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bus accidents, construction accidents, train accidents, and other accidents leading to injury or wrongful death. I have also represented employees in unpaid overtime wage claims. My clients have suffered all types of injuries including whiplash, fractured ankles, compression vertebrate fractures, rotator cuff tears, lumber herniated discs, cervical herniated discs, meniscus tears, fractured ribs, fractured clavicles, femur fractures, fibula fractures, and wrist fractures. I do not represent defendants and cannot accept defendants' calls. To discuss your specific personal injury or wrongful death case case call our office or use the contact form below. There is a time limit to make a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Do not put it off, contact an lawyer right away. No upfront lawyer fees or costs are due when we accept your wrongful death or personal injury claim. All cases we are accept are no win no fee personal injury claims and wrongful death claims.