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Thread: Learners Salary - California

  1. #1
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    Default Learners Salary - California

    I work at a coffee shop in California that employs mostly highschool students, most under the age of 18. My employer starts every person under the age of 18 at the wage of $5.75 an hour, which is 85% of minimum wage, which is the legal learners salary in california. However, the law states that a person may only be paid this wage up to 160 hours of work in an occupation in which the employee has no previous experience, which none of our employees do.

    Our boss works every employee under 18 at 5.75/hr for FAR over 160 hours. I figured that I have roughly worked 240 hours at that pay. I asked my boss for documentation of this, but she gave me a list of excuses and said "I'll get to it".

    Am I missing something? Or is this illegal.


    Grace in California

  2. #2
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    Are YOU under 18? You don't specify.

  3. #3
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    The present partial exemption for learners was amended to include minors.
    http://www.dir.ca.gov/IWC/Minwage2001.pdf
    Am I missing something? Or is this illegal.
    Illegal.
    I have been interested in employment rights for some time, however I am not a lawyer. Always consult with an attorney, as they are more knowledgeable.

  4. #4
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    I am under 18, yes.

  5. #5
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    It appears that the California "learners" wage applies to ANYONE, regardless of age.

    Given that graceless works in a coffee shop, I wondered about the possibility of a sub-minimum wage for tipped employees, but California does not allow that.

    Looks to me like graceless is owed money for hours worked after 160 hours for the employer at a rate below minimum wage.
    Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

  6. #6
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    Thank you Scott for that information, Ill be looking for an attorney about this. However I am confused about the quote below. Are you saying California does not allow sub-minimum wage if we receive tips, which we do?

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottB View Post
    Given that graceless works in a coffee shop, I wondered about the possibility of a sub-minimum wage for tipped employees, but California does not allow that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by graceless View Post
    Are you saying California does not allow sub-minimum wage if we receive tips, which we do?
    Yes. This works in your favor. With a sub-minimum wage for tipped employees, you would not make as much.
    Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

  8. #8
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    Actually, I wouldn't be so sure that a sub-minimum "training wage" isn't allowed for "learners" just because the employee is getting tips. California law prohibits "tip credit" and, accordingly, must pay regularly tipped employees the full minimum wage without adjusting for tips. Therefore, the logic would be that, since the full minimum wage must be paid anyway, a subminimum "learner's wage" may very well be legal, at least for the time frame allowed by law. You might want to call the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to inquire for sure.

  9. #9
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    Minimum wage(6.75 hr) is the same for all in Ca.. Learners wage is same for all in Ca. (5.74). Tips are irrelevant. you are due 80 hrs at the difference, which would not be worth an attorneys time. Just file a wage claim with the DLSE if the employer won't make you whole.
    http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/DistrictOffices.htm
    I have been interested in employment rights for some time, however I am not a lawyer. Always consult with an attorney, as they are more knowledgeable.

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