by Michael Futterman and Jaime Touchstone
As fast-food and other low-wage workers protest for pay raises and President Barack Obama pushes for a higher federal minimum wage, California employers need to prepare for a $1 increase in the state’s minimum wage. California’s minimum wage will rise to $9 an hour on July 1 before hitting $10 an hour in 2016.
Certain types of employees such as outside salespersons, apprentices, and learners may be exempt from minimum wage requirements, but in general, the requirements apply regardless of whether employees are paid on an hourly, commission, or salaried basis. Under the California Wage Orders, employees are considered learners during the first 160 hours of employment in occupations in which they have no related experience. Learners may not be paid less than 85 percent of the minimum wage, rounded to the nearest nickel.