California Wage and Hour Laws 2024 – Statute of Limitations

Frank S. Clowney III

Staying updated on the latest statutes of employment law is essential for both employers and employees in California. Every year presents a new chance for these laws to be updated to better reflect the realities of the ever-changing employment landscape. 2024 is no different. By better understanding California’s wage and hour laws, both employees and employers are better equipped to handle potential disputes and know when to hire a California wage lawyer for support.

Understanding California’s Wage and Hour Laws

To ensure that every California resident can gain employment without being mistreated, the wage and hour laws of the state were designed to govern all aspects of work and compensation. They have historically been pivotal in helping maintain a balanced and fair relationship between all employers and employees in the state. Some of the most critical of these laws include:

Minimum Wage

At the core of California employment law is the topic of minimum wage. This is the baseline hourly rate that an employer must pay their employees. As different factors change, such as the cost of living and economic conditions, the rate will change periodically to keep up. It’s crucial for employers to stay on top of when these adjustments occur, as paying an employee less than the minimum wage is cause for penalty.


Overtime compensation is another example of an important topic in wage and hour laws. California requires employers to pay their hourly employees 1.5x their traditional rate of any extra hours worked once they have hit 40. If the hours go beyond 50, it is then considered ‘double overtime,’ which comes with an even higher minimum hourly wage.

These rules are to make sure that employees are fairly compensated for all the extra work they have agreed to take on. This protects them from any instances of being exploited to work longer hours, which could lead to exhaustion and burnout.

Meal and Rest Breaks

Within the same vein as preventing exhaustion and burnout, the law also regulates meal and rest breaks. Employers in California are required to provide a combination of paid and unpaid rest breaks at specific intervals, depending on how many hours an employee is working on a particular day. If there is any evidence that an employer has violated this mandate, they could face penalties.

What’s New in 2024?

The state of California has introduced some exciting updates to the wage and hour laws that will begin in 2024. These changes are intended to make it easier for workers to file specific employment law violation claims by giving them more time to do so.

Overtime Pay

If you discover that your employer has neglected to pay for your overtime hours when they should have, you now will have four years to file the claim instead of just three. This extra year is an acknowledgment that it can be hard to know if you were supposed to actually get overtime pay if your work hours frequently change.

Minimum Wage Issues

Just like missing out on overtime pay, an employee sometimes realizes years later that they were paid less than what their employer is legally required to pay. In these instances, employees now have four years to come forth and make a case to seek compensation for the missing wages.

Meal and Rest Breaks

The timeframe to hold an employer accountable for not providing adequate meal and rest breaks has been bumped up to three years. The most compelling evidence to prove that your employer has neglected this requirement is by sharing your time records.

Being Misclassified as an Independent Contractor

Sometimes, an employer will purposefully label an employee as an independent contractor to avoid some of the traditional expenses that come with hiring a full-time employee, such as healthcare benefits. California employees now have four years to reclaim the benefits they lost from this unlawful behavior, which could have had a dramatic negative impact on their ability to support themselves in the past.


Q: How Long Does an Employer Have to Correct a Payroll When It Is Wrong in California?

A: California employers are expected to correct any mistakes found in their payroll immediately upon discovery. There is no official law that mandates this, but the general guidelines suggest that the issue should be rectified by the next pay period upon notice.

If the employer realizes that the error results in a significant underpayment, it is advised to act quickly to avoid any scenario where it could seem like they were trying to cover up the mistake to avoid a potential claim. As an employee, be sure to report any payroll errors you notice as soon as you can.

Q: Can I Sue My Employer for Not Paying Me Correctly in California?

A: Yes, California employees do have legal authority to sue their employer if they have compelling evidence to do so. This could include common issues such as not receiving minimum wage, unpaid overtime, or even being denied legally mandated break time.

Even if you are certain that you have a case, it is recommended to consult a wage and hour attorney. Depending on the severity of the accusation, they may either engage your employer directly or pursue an official claim. They can also help file a claim with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office. This can ensure that everything is documented properly, including the evidence needed to prove your accusation.

Q: What Types of Wages Are Covered Under California’s Wage and Hour Laws?

A: Hourly wages, salaries, commissions, and certain bonuses are all covered under California’s wage and hour laws. These laws ensure that employees:

  • Are at least paid the minimum wage for all their hours worked.
  • Receive overtime when applicable.
  • Are provided with enough meal and rest breaks to prevent any unnecessary strain.

They are also responsible for addressing issues like equal pay for equal work and the different rules for deductions from wages. Understanding the different wages and applicable employment laws can help you determine if your wage rights are being respected or violated.

Q: Are All Employees in California Entitled to Overtime Pay?

A: Most employees in California have a legal right to obtain overtime pay for extra work, but not all do. In general, non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay for any hours worked over 8 in a single day or 40 in a week. Exempt employees who are paid on an annual salary basis, rather than hourly, do not qualify for mandated overtime pay.

This is why understanding your employee classification and ensuring that your employer has properly labeled you as such is critical for taking advantage of all your employment rights.

Contact The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney III Today

If you believe that your employer has violated wage and hour laws in California, contact our attorneys today. We take great pride in restoring justice for our clients and would be pleased to do the same for you.