The New Minimum Wage
The New Year means new laws coming into effect. One of these laws is the increase of minimum wage in California.
The California Legislature passed the Fair Wage Act of 2016 earlier this year, and Governor Jerry Brown signed the act into law in April of 2016. This bill is a scheduled gradual minimum wage increase to $15.00/hour.
The increase begins January 1, 2017 when the minimum wage is increased to $10.50/hour for employees of a business that has 26 employees or more. The increase goes to $11.00/hour for the same size of employer a year later, and increases by $1.00/hour every year until the minimum wage is increased to $15.00/hour on January 1, 2022 for employers with 26 employees or more.
The same hourly increases occur for employers with 25 employees or less a year after their large employer counterparts, meaning that the minimum wage will reach $15.00/hour for all employees on January 1, 2023 and will receive cost of living adjustments from that point forward.
While the $10.50 increase is a guarantee, if economic downturns occur at any point during the roll-out, the governor can delay the next scheduled increase by a year, meaning a $15.00/hour minimum wage could be pushed to 2028 at the latest.
On top of the new state-wide minimum wage, there are cities throughout California that have enacted an increase in the minimum wage for any employee that works in that city. Although, by in large these cities are in the Bay Area, a notable exception is San Diego which has an increase in minimum wage to $11.50/hour starting January 1, 2017.
However, what this means for employees coming into the New Year is to keep your employer in check. If your employer fails to pay you what you are entitled under the law, complain to them. If they still fail to pay you what you are entitled then you should seek out legal representation for both civil and governmental complaints to ensure that you get paid what you are owed, and that your employer does not continue to fail to pay anyone else what they are owed under the law.