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Household employers must comply with all tax and wage laws that affect nannies and other domestic workers. While federal laws cover employers in all states, there are state-specific and city-specific rules and regulations that employers must also abide by.

Here are the laws affecting household employment in California.

Minimum Wage

In California, the current minimum wage is $10.50 per hour for employers with 25 employees or less.

The following cities have their own minimum wage laws:

  • Berkeley –  $12.53 per hour
  • Campbell – $10 per hour for employers with 25 employees or less
  • Cupertino – $13.50 per hour
  • El Cerrito – $13.60 per hour
  • Emeryville – $14 per hour for employers with 55 employees or less
  • Los Altos – $13.50 per hour
  • Los Angeles – $10.50 for employers with 25 employees or less
  • Malibu – $10.50 per hour for employers with 25 employees or less
  • Milpitas – $12 per hour
  • Mountain View – $15 per hour
  • Oakland – $13.23 per hour
  • Palo Alto – $13.50 per hour
  • Pasadena – $10.50 per hour for employers with 25 employees or less
  • Richmond – $13.41 per hour
  • Sacramento – $10.50 per hour for employers with 100 or fewer employees
  • San Francisco – $14 per hour
  • San Diego – $11.50 per hour
  • San Jose – $13.50 per hour
  • San Leandro – $12 per hour
  • San Mateo – $13.50 per hour
  • Santa Clara – $11.10 per hour
  • Santa Monica – $10.50 for employers with 25 employees or less
  • Sunnyvale – $15 per hour

Workers’ Compensation Requirements

All household employers in California are required to have a workers’ compensation policy for their employee(s).

Overtime Rules

Hourly employees in California are entitled to a special overtime pay rate of at least 1.5 times their regular hourly wage for all overtime worked, if they work over 40 hours in a week or more than 9 hours in a day.

Domestic Worker Rights Law

California has special laws that pertain to the employment of domestic workers. The state’s Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights took effect in 2014 and establishes regulations for overtime pay, meal breaks, days of rest, and human rights law protections. Read more about the California Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.

Wage Order 15: As part of the state’s Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights legislation, Wage Order 15, which had previously exempted personal attendants from overtime pay, was amended to remove this exemption and now requires personal attendants be paid overtime compensation at one and one-half times the employees’ regular rate of pay. Read more about Wage Order 15.

Paid Sick Leave

All employees who work for 30 or more days within a year in California must be given at least 24 hours of paid sick leave annually. Download our California Sick Leave Guide for all the details.

City Laws

Los Angeles Paid Sick Leave: beginning in July of 2017, household employers in Los Angeles will need to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Employees in Los Angeles who work 30 or more days within a year of beginning employment, whether full-time, part-time, or temporary, will earn paid sick leave based upon the number of hours worked. Learn more about this law.

San Diego Earned Sick Leave: the San Diego sick leave law supplements the California sick pay law, and employers must comply with both the state and local laws, whichever is more beneficial to employees. Employers are required to provide at least five days of earned sick leave to all employees doing work within the City’s boundaries. Learn the details about the law.

San Francisco Paid Sick Leave: every employee, whether exempt or non-exempt, full time or part time, permanent or temporary, who is employed within the City and County of San Francisco for thirty days or longer will be entitled to accrue paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay. Employers must provide notice to the employee how many days of sick leave the employee has available. Learn more
details about this law.

Wage Theft Protection Notice

All employers in California must provide workers with written, detailed information on how much and when a worker is paid. The notice must include:

  • rate of pay and whether paid by the hour, shift, day, week, etc., including any rates for overtime
  • meal, lodging, or other allowances
  • regular payday designated by the employer
  • the name, physical address, and phone number of the employer
  • the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier’s name, address, and phone number

Pay Stub Requirements

California law requires employers to give employees an itemized written statement with every paycheck, which must include the following information for each pay period:

  • total gross wages
  • total hours worked
  • any deductions
  • net pay
  • pay period dates
  • employee’s name and the last four digits of the employee’s Social Security number
  • employer’s full name and address
  • hourly rate of pay

New Employer SUI Rate

This is the State Unemployment Insurance tax rate that all employers pay when they first become employers. Those with previous employees may be subject to a different rate.  In California, the New Employer SUI rate is 3.40%.

Taxable Wage Base

Also called the Social Security Wage Base, this is the maximum income amount for which employees must pay Social Security taxes. Employers will usually handle this calculation and withhold the correct taxes from each paycheck, but employees are still responsible for reporting the tax.  In California, the Taxable Wage Base is $7,000.


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