An employee can be paid on commissions, without regard to federal overtime regulations, if the employee is paid at least one and one half times the minimum wage. Title 29 U.S.C. § 207(i). You were apparently paid $12,50 per hour, which is more than one and one half times California minimum wage ($8.00). However, this exemption only applies to an "employee of a retail or service establishment...." A timeshare business is not a retail or service establishment -- therefore the exception from the overtime laws is inapplicable, and you are entitled to the $12.50 per hour.
Now, you are also discribing a situation where the timeshare employer apparently contends that your pay was an "advance" against commissions. The question is whether or not those commissions were earned during the month that you were paid the $12.50 per hour. Even if the commissions were earned during that period, your advance would have had to have been "against" the commmissions to be lawful. See Steinhebel v. Los Angeles Times Communications
(2005) 126 Cal.App.4th 696, 705. Instead, you were paid a flat $12.50 per hour, which is entirely inconsistent with the notion that you were being paid an advance against commissions.
Pursuant to Cal. Labor Code 221, it is unlawful to recover payments against an employee's pay already received (except for a true advance against commissions). Therefore, the employer is violating California law, and you are entitled to your $12.50 per hour for the first month's work.
If there are multiple employees who have been subject to this apparently unlawful act, you can file a BOFE claim for everyone involved at this link
. If you want to make the claim only for yourself, then see this link
Hope this helps.
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