Local Ordinances Add Variety to Minimum Wage Requirements

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We have employees working a few hours a week in multiple cities and counties. The hours vary so much that we decided to just pay the standard California minimum wage. Are we required to pay different minimum wages based on each local minimum wage law?

It depends. Local minimum wage requirements may apply depending on the ordinance issued by each city or county where the employee works. Each ordinance defines the coverage and eligibility, and the rules vary.

Review those ordinances to determine your obligation for payment. HRCalifornia’s new Local Ordinances section, www.calchamber.com/hrcalifornia/local-ordinances, contains information about local minimum wage ordinances to help you comply with the various requirements.

Employer Options

Some employers decide to pay one rate that meets the highest minimum wage requirement for any of the locations the employees work. Other employers choose to pay different rates based on the number of hours worked in each jurisdiction pursuant to each ordinance’s regulations.

If you decide to pay different minimum rates, overtime payment is based on the weighted average of the rates. It is important to keep accurate time records that reflect the hours worked in each location.

In addition, the itemized wage statement—the check stub—must list the hours worked at each rate, as well as the weighted average overtime rate.

At times it is difficult to determine if a workplace or job site falls within the city/county limits. Look to each ordinance website for guidance regarding boundaries.

Last, keep in mind that some cities/counties also provide paid sick leave that differs from the California standard.

More Information

Posting notices and recordkeeping requirements vary, so review the HRCalifornia website for more information and links to websites.


The Labor Law Helpline is a service to California Chamber of Commerce preferred and executive members. For expert explanations of labor laws and Cal/OSHA regulations, not legal counsel for specific situations, call (800) 348-2262 or submit your question at www.hrcalifornia.com.

Staff Contact: Barbara Wilber

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Barbara Wilber
About Barbara Wilber
Barbara Wilber joined the CalChamber in 2005 and currently serves as an HR adviser. She previously served as a deputy labor commissioner and hearing officer with the Labor Commissioner in the California Department of Industrial Relations. Her 24 years of experience includes settlement conferences, wage claim determinations and resolving employee disputes brought to the Office of the Labor Commissioner.​​​​​