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What are the exceptions to the minimum wage law?

Minimum wage is the amount employers must pay to employees. While your hourly rate may be more, it cannot be under this wage. However, there are exceptions to the minimum wage law.

The California Department of Industrial Relations explains certain categories of workers and those working in specific situations may receive a rate less than the minimum wage.

Certain types of employment

Apprentices who are working under State Division of Apprenticeship Standards do not have to receive the minimum wage. If you work in a family business and are the parent, spouse or child of the business owner, then you do not have to receive minimum wage. Outside salespersons are also exempt from the law.

Training workers

Workers who are learners do not have to get minimum wage, but the law does have a wage requirement. Employers must pay them at least 85% of the set minimum wage. This only applies to the first 160 hours when the employee is coming into the job with no experience, while they to learn how to do the job duties. After that, the minimum wage law applies.

Workers with disabilities

Nonprofit organizations participating in a program for disabled workers can receive permission to pay less than minimum wage. The employer must secure licensing through the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to be able to reduce the wages paid.

In no situation can an employee agree to work for below minimum wage if the law requires the employer to pay it. Only when specific exceptions apply may an employer legally pay less than minimum wage.  It is important to note that there is no exception for employees in the service industry who receive tips.


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