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Role of the Industrial Welfare Commission in CA

Instructor: Tammy Galloway

Tammy teaches business courses at the post-secondary and secondary level and has a master's of business administration in finance.

In this lesson, we'll define labor laws. You'll receive insight into the role of the Industrial Welfare Commission and the 17 wage orders created under their leadership.

What Are Labor Laws?

Fred just graduated from law school with interest in labor relations. A dimension within labor relations are labor laws which outlines the relationship between employers and workers. Fred's particularly interested in working for the California Industrial Welfare Commission and decides to visit to gain a more in depth understanding of their role. Let's see what he learned.

The History of the Industrial Welfare Commission

Fred arrives at the California Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) where he learns that the commission has not been in operation since 2004. However, their work is still relevant today and a self-led tour was established to discuss the commission's history.

The IWC was comprised of five members appointed by the California Governor to set hours of work, wages, and working conditions for California employees. Prior to the IWC, many California workers experienced horrific working conditions, long hours, and low pay. In the late 1980s, the IWC established wage orders which addressed minimum wage standards, appropriate working hours, and conditions for California employees. These wage orders must be posted by employers in an area that is clearly visible to all employees.

Although the IWC is defunct, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) manages and enforces the wage orders that California employers must strictly adhere.

Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders

Fred moves on into a large round room where seventeen wage orders have been put on display. Each wage order is numbered and accompanied by a packet of paperwork that defines the wage requirements, rules about working hours, and conditions specific for each of the assigned industries.

The IWC wage orders industries and their numbers are as follows:

  1. Manufacturing Industry
  2. Personal Services Industry
  3. Canning, Freezing, and Preserving Industry
  4. Professional, Technical, Clerical, Mechanical, and Similar Occupations
  5. Public Housekeeping Industry
  6. Laundry, Linen Supply, Dry Cleaning, and Dyeing Industry
  7. Mercantile Industry
  8. Industries Handling Products After Harvest
  9. Transportation Industry
  10. Amusement and Recreation Industry
  11. Broadcasting Industry
  12. Motion Picture Industry
  13. Industries Preparing Agricultural Products for Market, on the Farm
  14. Agricultural Occupations
  15. Household Occupation
  16. Certain On-Site Occupations in the Construction, Drilling, Logging, and Mining Industries
  17. Miscellaneous Employees (which addressed all other employee not previously mentioned)

While all the wage orders had some differences due industry specific regulations, all had the following in common:

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