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Need help determing true meaning of auto technician wages in California

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  • Need help determing true meaning of auto technician wages in California

    I have read many threads on this forum concerning minimum wage laws for automotive technicians in California. Article 9 states:
    "(B) When tools or equipment are required by the employer or are necessary to the performance of a job, such tools and equipment shall be provided and maintained by the employer, except that an employee whose wages are at least two (2) times the minimum wage provided herein may be required to provide and maintain hand tools and equipment customarily required by the trade or craft. This subsection (B) shall not apply to apprentices regularly indentured under the State Division of Apprenticeship Standards."

    What I am reading, in no way that I can figure out, states that an employer is required to pay double the minimum wage if I am required to own my own tools. Rather, they can only require me to purchase my own tools IF in fact my wages ARE double the minimum wage. In other words, my actual flat rate of pay does in fact exceed double the minimum wage, however if I do not bill x amount of flat rate hours, then they are still only required by law to pay me the minimum wage of $8.00 for actual time at said place of work correct?

    Or....does that exemption I quoted above ACTUALLY mean that my employer IS required to compensate me at double the minimum wage for all hours I am actually at work and clocked in?

    I work for an independent repair shop, and I showed my employer this article, and he says that he is only required to pay me minimum wage if I do not flag billable hours exceeding minimum wage. Many technicians are under the impression that we are entitled to double minimum wage but the more I read the article 9 exemption, the more I am thinking maybe my employer is right. Someone PLEASE clarify this for me! Thanks

  • #2
    47 views and not a single opinion or knowledge on this issue? Someone has to have the answer lol.

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    • #3
      What it says that employers are required to provide employees who earn less than twice the minimum wage with the tools they need to do their jobs. Employees who earn more than twice the minimum wage, on the other hand, can be required to provide their own tools. It only addresses the question of when employers must provide tools and when they are exempt from doing so.
      I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

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      • #4
        Thank you for the reply, however I can now clarify this issue for anyone reading this that has the same question...

        I just got off the phone with DLSE and I was told that YES, any employer of an automotive technician who requires said technician to provide their own tools as a condition of employment, must pay that technician double the minimum wage for any hours worked whether it is piece rate or straight time. I addressed the issue of what about slow times when there is no piece rate work available and the response was the same. As long as your at work, you must be paid minimum wage, and for us techs, that is $16 hr in California.

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        • #5
          That's all true, except I think they may mean the regular rate of pay must be at least twice minimum wage, not necessarily the "idle" time as such. Regular rate of pay is defined as all earnings from your work divided by the number of hours worked in the workweek.
          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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