California Labor &
Employment Law Blog
Apr 1, 2016

California Lawmakers Approve $15 Minimum Wage

Topics: New Laws & Legislation, Wage & Hour Issues

Early this week we reported on a "deal" reached between labor unions, certain democratic lawmakers, and the California Governor to increase California's minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022.  Yesterday, California's Assembly and Senate both voted to approve the bill, largely along partisan lines.  All but two democrats (Assembly members Tom Daly and Adam Gray) voted in favor of the bill.  No Republicans in either house voted in favor of the bill.  The bill was passed by a vote of 48-26 in the Assembly and by a vote of 26-12 in the Senate.  The bill is now on Governor Brown's desk for consideration.  Governor Brown has already announced that he will sign the bill into law on Monday.  [Unfortunately, this is not an April Fools joke.] 

Under the new California law, the minimum wage will increase for employers with 26 or more employees as follows:

  • January 1, 2017 -- $10.50 per hour
  • January 1, 2018 -- $11.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2019 -- $12.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2020 -- $13.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2021 -- $14.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2022 -- $15.00 per hour

For employers with less than 26 employees, the minimum wage will increases will occur one year later on the following schedule:

  • January 1, 2018 -- $10.50 per hour
  • January 1, 2019 -- $11.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2020 -- $12.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2021 -- $13.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2022 -- $14.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2023 -- $15.00 per hour

After 2022/2023, the minimum wage will automatically increase by up to 3.5 percent based on CPI.  

In addition to providing for minimum wage increases, the new law will phase in paid sick leave for in-home supportive care workers (who had been carved out of the statewide paid sick leave law that took effect in 2015) beginning July 1, 2018.

California's minimum wage (currently $10 per hour) is already the highest in the country and this new law seems likely to preserve that ranking into the foreseeable future. Significantly, many cities in California have implemented local minimum wage ordinances that are even higher than the statewide minimum wage, and the new law (unlike the laws of many other states) does not preempt local minimum wage ordinances -- meaning that California employers will need to continue to ensure compliance with both the statewide law and any local ordinances applicable to their workforces.

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For over 25 years, CDF has distinguished itself as one of the top employment, labor and immigration firms in California, representing employers in single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and advising employers on related legal compliance and risk avoidance. We cover the state, with five locations from Sacramento to San Diego.

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About the Editor

Robin Largent has a regular presence in California state and federal courts and has been lead defense counsel and appellate counsel for large and small California employers in litigation (and arbitration) ranging from individual discrimination and harassment claims to complex wage and hour representative and class actions. She also leads the firm’s appellate practice, having substantial experience and success handling appeals, writ petitions, and amicus briefs in both state and federal court on issues such as class certification (particularly in the wage and hour arena), manageability and due process concerns associated with class action trials, exempt/non-exempt misclassification issues, meal and rest break compliance, trade secret/unfair competition matters, and the scope of federal court jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act.
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