California Employers: What Is My Wage Order?

Posted by on 2/15/2021 to California


The California Department of Industrial Relations has just released an updated version of its IWC Wage Order Poster for 2021. The Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) Wage Orders regulate wages, hours and working conditions. Employers must comply with the IWC Wage Order and California labor laws applicable to their business or industry.

For example, IWC Wage Order 1 applies to the manufacturing industry; Wage Order 4 applies to professional, technical, clerical, mechanical and similar occupations; Wage Order 7 applies to the mercantile industry; Wage Order 9 applies to the transportation industry; Wage Order 12 applies to the motion picture industry; Wage Order 14 applies to agricultural occupations; Wage Order 15 applies to household occupations; and Wage Order 16 applies to occupations in the construction, drilling, logging and mining industries.

Here are several things you need to know about the IWC Wage Order:

  • It is required for ALL employers in California to post a copy of the correct IWC Wage Order Poster under California Labor Code 1183(d);


  • It is enforced by the California Labor Commissioner’s Office/Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE);


  • It is the NUMBER ONE required permanent poster on the state’s list of required notices listed even before the contents of our California and Federal Combination Poster;











  • It states at the very top of the California Minimum Wage notice, Please post next to your IWC Industry or Occupation Order”.



  • Depending on the order, on either Section 20, 21, 22 of each of the 16 wage orders, it states the following: “POSTING OF ORDER: Every employer shall keep a copy of this order posted in an area frequented by employees where it may be easily read during the workday. Where the location of work or other conditions makes this impractical, every employer shall keep a copy of this order and make it available to every employee upon request. Note: Authority cited: Sections 864, 1173, and 1182.13, Labor Code; and California Constitution, Article XIV, Section 1. Reference: Sections 858, 859, 860, 861, 862, 864, 1182, 1182.12, 1182.13, and 1184, and 2695.2, Labor Code.”

The California Labor Commissioner's Office, also known as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or DLSE, has created a pamphlet called “WHICH IWC ORDER? Classifications” to assists employers and employees in determining which IWC Wage Order applies to a business or employee (available athttp://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/WhichIWCOrderClassifications.PDF).

Each California Wage Order covers regulations on topics such as:

  • Administrative, executive and professional exemptions;
  • Overtime wages;
  • Alternative workweeks;
  • Minimum wages;
  • Reporting time pay;
  • Records retention;
  • Cash shortage and breakage;
  • Uniforms and equipment;
  • Meals and lodging;
  • Meal periods;
  • Rest periods; and
  • Required posting of the order.
The Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) provides 17 different California Wage Orders. However, the DLSE has not made a determination as to who is classified under the 17th Wage Order - Miscellaneous Employees. Every California employer should know the applicable Wage Order for her/his/their/its business and employees and the regulations regarding wages, hours and working conditions contained therein.

Here is a list of the 16 different IWC Wage Orders, excluding the one for miscellaneous employees.

(IWC#1) Manufacturing Industry

(IWC#2) Personal Services (gyms, hair and nail salons, massage parlor, etc)

(IWC#3) Canning, Freezing & Preserving Industry

(IWC#4) Professional, Technical, Clerical, Mechanical, and Similar Occupations (Teachers, Engineers, Physicians (outpatient facilities only), Real Estate Brokerage, Financial Firms, Legal Firms, Professional Firms, Travel Agencies, Organizations and Associations, Non-Profit, Government Employees, etc.)

(IWC#5) Public Housekeeping Industry (Restaurants, Hotels, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Public Storage, Grounds and Property Maintenance, Schools with Dormitories, etc)

(IWC#6) Laundry, Linen Supply, Dry Cleaning and Dyeing Industry

(IWC#7) Mercantile Industry (purchasing, selling, or distributing goods or commodities at retail or Wholesale, or renting goods or commodities)

(IWC#8) Industries handling products after harvest (not on the farm)

(IWC#9) Transportation Industry

(IWC#10) Amusement & Recreation Industry (Amusement Parks, Bowling Alleys, Golf Courses, Ski Resorts, etc.)

(IWC#11) Broadcasting Industry (Broadcasting and Taping, TV and Radio Broadcasting)

(IWC#12) Motion Picture Industry (Film, TV, Video Production, Advertising Films, Casting, Wardrobe and Property Rental for Production, etc.)

(IWC#13) Agricultural Products for Market, On The Farm (packing, processing, slaughtering, nut hulling/shelling/cracking, etc. when done on grower's own land and product)

(IWC#14) Agricultural Occupations (Field Workers, Fish Hatcheries, Wranglers, Cowboys/Cowgirls, etc.)

(IWC#15) Household Occupations (Day Workers, Employees of private households)

(IWC#16) On-Site Construction, Mining, Drilling, Landscaping Industry



For the convenience of our valued customers, Compliance Posters of America has created an all-in-one version of the California IWC Wage Order Posters. They are available in a 24" x 36" laminated poster format. It may be purchased separately HERE to supplement the state & federal combination poster.

California employers must also comply with additional applicable local or municipal requirements, which might include city-specific minimum wage requirements that may be higher than the state minimum wage such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pasadena, Santa Monica, and San Diego.










Disclaimer: This article is intended to be used a guide to help determine the classifications of industries and occupations under the Industrial Welfare Commission Orders. These guidelines and classifications are general in nature and the existence of specific facts and circumstances of the employment relationship and operations of a particular employer may require a different determination of proper classification that the general one set forth herein. As new types of businesses and occupations are constantly coming into existence, there undoubtedly may be businesses and occupations that have not been included on the state's classification index. Additionally, as industry practices and business structures evolve, circumstances may dictate the change in classification of a particular occupation from one wage order to another wage order.