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EMPLOYMENT

How much money do servers make in California? This is the hourly wage

California is the state with the highest level of employment for restaurant servers. Find out how much money waitstaff here earn per hour and per year.

California es el estado con mayor nivel de empleo para meseros. Descubre cuánto dinero se gana por hora y al año en el estado.
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The service industry is one of the most in-demand fields in the United States, especially during the holiday season. This is particularly true for California, which is the state with the highest level of employment for waitstaff. Also, by law, it has a minimum wage that is higher than what is dictated at the federal level.

How much money do servers make in California? This is the hourly wage

In the US, the earnings of a server is usually based on tips. According to the Department of Labor, for tipped workers, an employer is only required to pay $2.13 per hour in direct wages if that amount combined with tips received equals at least the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour.

If the employee’s tips combined with the employer’s direct wages of at least $2.13 per hour do not equal the hourly minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference.

Despite the federal mandate, several states, including California, require higher direct wages for tipped employees. Servers and other workers in the Golden State are entitled to the minimum wage in addition to the tips they earn.

In California, the minimum wage for servers in 2023 is $15.50. In some cities and counties, the minimum wage is higher

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These cities have a higher minimum wage than the state rate:

  • Alameda, $16.52
  • Berkeley, $18.07 per hour
  • Los Angeles, $16.78 per hour
  • Oakland, $15.97 per hour
  • San Francisco, $18.07 per hour
  • San Jose, $17.00 per hour
  • Santa Monica, $16.90 per hour

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages report, the average annual salary for a server in California is $37,060, which is $4,000 above the federal average. The average hourly wage is $17.82.

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How much do servers earn in the United States?

Federally, the median annual salary for a server is $33,020, while the median hourly wage is $15.87. According to BLS data, the national median salary for servers is $14 per hour and $29,120 per year. The median wage is the 50th percentile wage estimate: 50% of workers earn less than the median and 50% of workers earn more than the median.

The bottom 10% of servers earn about $8.77 per hour or $18,250 per year. Meanwhile, the top 10% earn $26.62 per hour or $55,360 per year.