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Big news in the world of wage orders! There has been some recent updates to include the most recent increases to the minimum wage. Wage Orders 1 through 12, 15 and 16 have been updated by the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). That leaves Wage Orders 14 and 17 untouched.

Now would be a great time for employers to review all seventeen wage orders to decide which order they need to post. Wage orders must be posted in the workplace where it is available for all employees to view. The posting must show employees which wage orders cover their industry or their occupations.

The employer must carefully choose which wage orders to post. The DIR has issued guidelines and classifications of employees, but they are general in nature and the specific facts and circumstances at specific companies may require a different determination of proper classification than the general ones DIR provides. Industrial wage orders apply first, and only if there is no industrial wage order for your industry do you then look to the occupational wage orders.

Think about it: Wage Order 1 covers the manufacturing industry. Even an office assistant working for a manufacturing company would be covered by this wage order. But an office assistant working in a law firm is covered by an occupational order, No. 4, because law firms are not covered by any industrial wage order. Large companies that seem to be in various types of industries still usually have a main purpose. So those companies should confirm whether that main purpose has an industrial wage order. If not, then occupational orders apply.

Distinct operations in multi-purpose businesses may be covered by different industry orders if they are operated for different business purposes and the management is separately organized at all levels. If not, then the predominant purpose of the business will guide the determination of which wage order applies.

Employers should not avoid posting wage orders because they are not sure which wage order applies. It’s better to do a straightforward assessment of the principal purpose of the company. A person with a fresh set of eyes who is conversant in the seventeen wage orders and the cases applying them can navigate this universe to avoid missteps. Clearly informed employees who see the posted wage orders will not misunderstand their wage rights. This could avoid lawsuits in the future.

If you need assistance determining which wage order applies to your business, or with applying or interpreting wage order requirements, contact an employment law attorney at Schneiders & Associates.

By: Kathleen J. Smith, Esq.

About the Author
Theodore J. Schneider practices in the areas of business and corporate transactions, employment law counseling, municipal and public law, real estate and land use, and homeowner associations. Ted began his legal career in 2002 when he joined the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, L.L.P. before relocating to Ventura County to join his father in practice.