Can an employer pay less than minimum wage as a base pay?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer pay less than minimum wage as a base pay?

After over 30 years of being paid
hourly, my boss recently changed my
rate of pay to 8/hr base pay and an
additional 25/piece. I now make 8/hr
for every hour I’m on the clock and an
additional 25/each for every piece I
produce by the end of the pay period.
Is this legal?

Asked on April 19, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It is legal so long as in the aggregate, between your base rate and piece rate, you earn at least minimum wage. If minimum wage is $10/hour and you work 40 hours per week, you must earn at leat $400/week. You earn $320 from 40 hours of base rate; so long as you finish at least 4 pieces, you will be earning $420 or more per week, which averages out to $10.50 per hour, or over minimum.

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