Hiring an Employee in California: What Employers Need to Know

Today we’re tackling a topic of paramount importance to employers both within and outside the Golden State—how to hire an employee in California. 

With its unique labor laws and regulations, hiring in California is a distinctive process that requires attention to detail and an understanding of state-specific requirements.

Understanding California’s Labor Laws

California is known for its comprehensive labor laws that differ significantly from federal regulations and those of other states. 

These laws cover a wide range of employment aspects from minimum wage requirements to overtime, and rest and meal breaks. 

For example, California’s minimum wage is set higher than the federal minimum, with plans to increase annually until it reaches $15.00 per hour for all employees, regardless of size (REF: Department of Industrial Relations, State of California).

Crafting a Transparent Job Offer

Transparency is key in the California job market. 

Ensure your job offer includes detailed information about the role, compensation, benefits, and any other critical elements. 

This clarity helps set expectations and builds a foundation for a positive employer-employee relationship.

The Employment Agreement

While California operates under at-will employment laws—meaning either the employer or employee can terminate the employment at any time for any reason (with certain exceptions)—a well-drafted employment agreement is crucial. 

This document should outline job responsibilities, expectations, and termination procedures.

Notably, for commission-based roles, California law requires a written agreement to specify how commissions are calculated and paid (California Labor Code Section 2751).

For a seamless experience, read this article on New Employee Onboarding

Navigating the Paperwork

Compliance starts with paperwork. 

Beyond the federal I-9 form, which verifies an employee’s eligibility to work in the U.S., California mandates additional forms such as the state’s Wage Theft Protection Act notice, which employers must provide to employees at the time of hire. 

Ensuring thorough completion of these documents is vital for compliance.

With the rise of remote work, managing state registrations for employees spread across multiple jurisdictions has become a significant challenge for employers. 

Ensuring compliance with state tax and unemployment regulations can be complex and time-consuming.

In this blog post, explore practical steps to effectively manage state registrations for remote employees

Prioritizing Health and Safety

California employers are obligated to provide a safe working environment. 

This includes adhering to the California Occupational Safety and Health Act (Cal/OSHA) regulations, which may require specific training, reporting, and preventive measures depending on the nature of the job.

Understanding Benefit Requirements

California sets the bar high with requirements for employee benefits, including paid sick leave.

Under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, employees in California are entitled to paid sick leave, accruing at a minimum rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked (REF: State of California Department of Industrial Relations).


Hiring in California means navigating a unique landscape of employment laws and regulations.

From creating transparent job offers to understanding state-specific requirements for commissions and benefits, compliance is key. 

By staying informed and diligent, employers can successfully expand their teams while adhering to California’s stringent standards.

I hope this guide demystifies the hiring process in California and helps you on your journey to building a successful team. 

If you have any questions or would like to share your experiences, feel free to drop a comment below. Until our next post, happy hiring!

If you have questions or want to dive deeper into how outsourced HR can positively impact your business, feel free to contacts us here.

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