A California employment contract is a written agreement between an employer and an employee. The document outlines the terms of employment, including the job responsibilities of the employee, the compensation they will receive, time off, and how the employer will pay them.
For a contract to be valid in California, it must cover the terms and conditions agreed between the parties; once accepted, it controls the employment relationship  . The state considers even a verbal employment relationship to involve a contract.
Hiring in California
You need to know several state employment laws in California before you write your employment contract.
California is an at-will employment state. There are also exceptions to the at-will employment rules in California.
- Public Policy: Yes
- Implied-Contract: Yes
- Good-Faith Exception: Yes
Minimum Wage ($/hr)
Basic Minimum Rate (per hour): $15.50  .
Premium Pay After Designated Hours: Daily – 8 (over 12 is double time), Weekly – 40*.
Some cities and counties have higher minimum wages than the state’s rate  .
* “Eight hours of labor constitutes a day’s work. Any work in excess of eight hours in one workday and any work in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek and the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of work in any one workweek shall be compensated at the rate of no less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for an employee. Any work in excess of 12 hours in one day shall be compensated at the rate of no less than twice the regular rate of pay for an employee.” 
For minors under 18 who are enrolled in school, employment certificates, also known as work permits, are required in California  .
The California Labor Department issues employment certificates for minors employed in the entertainment industry. Employment certificates can also be obtained through the minor’s school.
Age certificates are not required in California.
In California, payday requirements depend on the occupation. Generally, with some exceptions, employees must be paid at least twice during each calendar month on days designated in advance as regular paydays.
Employers must establish a regular payday and post a notice showing the day, time, and location of payment.
Employees must also be paid within a certain amount of time after the labor was performed  .
Meal and Rest Breaks
California is one of a few states that have minimum paid rest and meal period requirements.
The Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders require that California employers allow and permit non-exempt employees to take a rest period or at least ten consecutive minutes for each four-hour work period. The rest period is counted as time worked and must be paid.
For meal periods, employers are required to allow a minimum meal period of half an hour if the workday is for over five hours, unless the workday will be completed in six hours or less, and both the employer and employee agree to waive the meal period.
Employees can not be employed for a work period of over 10 hours per day without being provided with a second meal period of no less than half an hour unless the total hours worked is 12 hours and both the employer and employee agree to waive the meal period (along as the first meal period was not waived)  .
In California, employers are required to keep records:
- For at least three years  , on wages, hours, payroll records
- For two years on discrimination
Below, you can download a California employment contract template in PDF or Word format: