California recently made history as the first state in the nation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. The governor and the state legislatures reached a deal on the proposed plan on March 28, and the bill was signed into law on March 31.
Currently, California’s minimum wage is $10 an hour, though several cities across the state have already agreed to pay workers more, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. The increased minimum wage is expected to affect 43% of workers, or nearly 6.5 million people.
The law will increase the minimum wage in increments. Starting January 1, 2017, the minimum wage will be raised to $10.50. On January 1, 2018, it will be increased to $11. For every year following, the minimum wage will increase by $1 until 2022. However, the governor still has the ability to delay the increases by one year in the event of an economic slowdown or other financial crisis.
The law will affect all employers, but small businesses with fewer than 26 employees will have an additional year to comply with the law.
Observers believe that the push for a higher minimum wage will soon affect states across the country. Cities like Seattle have already raised their minimum wages to $15, and the governor of New York has proposed a similar plan to that state’s legislature. Governor Cuomo has pushed for a $15 minimum wage in New York City by 2019, and throughout the state by 2021. Additionally, both Democratic presidential candidates have gone on record as supporting an increased federal minimum wage.
As the state’s employers prepare for the increase, some worry that the pay raise will entice employers to replace human workers with computers and robotic technology, or will lead to companies moving out of state. Whether these concerns are valid remains to be seen; nevertheless, over a third of underpaid Californians will surely be grateful for an increase in pay.
Sacramento, CA 95821