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Hourly + bonus: Can my hourly wage be less than minimum wage?

Long Beach, CA |

Hi, I am currently paying door to door canvassers per lead they generate. Feedback is telling me that adding an hourly bonus would help my guys take some of the pressure off. They average 1-2 leads per hour at $10 per lead, so if I paid $5 or $6 base per hour they would still be over the minimum wage (except on a tough day, which is rare). Can my hourly base be $5 or $6 per hour since the bonuses take them above the $8 minimum wage?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

I would make sure their hourly wage was at least the minimum wage. That is the safe thing to do.

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3 comments

Asker

Posted

Thank you. The issue with that structure is it is not as performance driven (less of an hourly is more ideal for this type of job). Are you saying that it is generally illegal to have a minimum hourly below minimum wage even when bonuses take them above it?

Daniel Michael Holzman

Daniel Michael Holzman

Posted

I'm just saying they have to be making at least $8.00 per hour for each hour worked.

Huy Ngoc Tran

Huy Ngoc Tran

Posted

Mr. Pederson and Mr. Holzman are right. It is safer to pay them at the minimum wage rate for all hours worked. You can put a bonus system in place as an incentive on top of the minimum wage (which I know can add up your costs), but you are taking on some risk that your employees don't get the leads they need and their pay doesn't reach minimum wage. In Gonzalez v. Downtown LA Motor, a court awarded mechanics who were paid by the car they worked on because the time they spent waiting for cars to show up were unpaid. The court awarded the mechanics even though their pay was guaranteed to average out to at least minimum wage.

Posted

California law requires that employees be paid the minimum wage each hour they work. Your system would be acceptable as long as the employee is guaranteed $8 per hour for each hour they work if they do not get enough leads to equal that number.

Good luck to you.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.

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Posted

Best thing to do is pay $8.00 per hour

This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.

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