Strippers Minimum Wage in California

Strippers in California must earn a minimum wage of $15.50 per hour or higher, depending on the city’s minimum wage where they work. Clubs that do not pay strippers a minimum wage can be sued for an estimated $100,000.

By Brad Nakase, Attorney

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In California, strippers’ wages and working conditions have become a topic of significant concern. This article delves into the nuances of their employment, focusing on the legality of strippers’ wages and salary, the money strippers get paid in tips, and other aspects related to strippers’ pay. It aims to shed light on strippers’ wages, as well as their rights and protections afforded to individuals in this profession. In essence, strippers deserve to get paid for their labor, and strippers’ wages should meet the minimum standard, as with any other profession.

Do strippers get paid hourly?

As of the current legislation, the minimum wage for all strippers in California is $15.50 per hour, but in some cities the minimum wage are greater. Exotic dancers’ minimum wage will increase to $16 per hour on January 1, 2024. Nevertheless, in numerous cities within the state, local minimum wages exceed this baseline, providing additional financial security to exotic dangers. Notable examples include Berkeley at $18.07, Alameda at $16.75, Los Angeles at $16.90, San Diego at $16.30 (in 2023) and $16.85 (in 2024), and West Hollywood at $19.08. This means that strippers’ pay in these locations should meet these standards. Strippers’ wages should not dip below the minimum wage, regardless of money tips. If strippers make less than these amounts for their salary, they have a valid wage claim against their employer. It is essential that strippers get paid at least the minimum wage, as per California law.

Are strippers and exotic dancers independent contractors?

Strippers are not independent contractors and must be paid an hourly minimum wage or greater. Many gentleman’s club classify strippers and exotic dancers as independent contractor; however, California law clearly states that strippers are employees of the club. Strippers who are not paid a minimum wage or higher can sue the club for an estimated $98,000.

A fundamental principle dictates that strippers must get paid a fair salary for their work. This means that strippers get paid what they deserve for their labor. The widespread practice of relying on money tips, while common in the industry, does not excuse employers from their responsibility to ensure strippers’ wages meet the minimum amount. Please contact our employment lawyer for employees if you’re misclassified as a independent contractor.

Manager cannot accept tips from strippers

According to California Labor Code Section 351, employers and their representatives are expressly prohibited from collecting any portion of money gratuities intended for employees. If strippers make extra money, the tips belong to them, as employees. This includes both direct money tips from patrons and any associated credit card payments. Anything strippers get paid belongs to them by right. Employers are also forbidden from making any deductions from a stripper’s wages based on gratuities. In essence, strippers’ pay in the form of money tips are recognized as their exclusive property, reflecting the quality of service rendered. Whatever strippers get paid is theirs alone.

Credit Card Tips

If a patron opts to pay tips via credit card, the employer is legally obligated to pass on the full money tip amount indicated on the credit card slip to the employee. This mandate extends to cover any associated credit card processing fees or additional charges imposed by the credit card company on the employer. Payment for tips made through credit cards must be disbursed to strippers no later than the subsequent regular payday following the authorization of the credit card payment. This ensures strippers get paid promptly. If strippers’ pay is denied for longer, they may have a wage claim.

A club cannot charge strippers to fee to dance or work.

In the industry, it is commonplace for strippers to have designated performance areas, often referred to as “spots.” While some establishments implement a policy wherein strippers pay for their allocated spot, it is crucial to recognize that this practice contradicts the standard employment relationship. Employers should not charge their workers for the privilege of working; this only serves to further exploit dancers.

A club must pay penalties for paying wage late.

A concerning practice reported by adult dancers involves being penalized for lateness, even in instances where circumstances beyond their control were the cause. This adds an extra financial burden on top of the money lost due to tardiness. These practices are indicative of the ways in which clubs can exploit their workers, taking advantage of the industry’s stigma and making dancers hesitant to advocate for their rights.

A club cannot prohibit strippers from working at another club.

For some individuals, stripping constitutes a part-time occupation, while others may pursue it as a full-time career. However, certain clubs prohibit their performers from seeking employment elsewhere under the threat of termination. It is crucial to recognize that any “non-compete” clause or agreement of this nature is unlawful. Workers cannot be restricted from seeking employment elsewhere, even in states where such clauses may be legally enforceable.


This comprehensive examination of strippers’ wages and working conditions in California underscores the importance of fair treatment and adherence to legal standards. The law is clear: employees in this industry are entitled to just compensation, including tips. Employers must refrain from exploitative practices and provide a safe, equitable work environment. Understanding these rights empowers strippers to advocate for themselves and demand the fair treatment they deserve.

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