HR Management & Compliance

California’s minimum wage going up on January 1

The minimum wage in California will rise to $10.50 an hour on January 1 for most employers thanks to a measure signed into law in April. Future incremental increases will put the state’s minimum wage at $15 an hour by January 2022 for employers with 26 or more employees. Smaller employers will have more time to reach the eventual $15 level.

The current minimum wage in California is $10 an hour. Under the new law, employers with 26 or more employees will see the minimum wage go to $10.50 on January 1, 2017.

The California law includes an “off ramp” provision that allows the governor to delay a scheduled annual increase in the event of an economic downturn. The law also provides for automatic increases tied to inflation after the $15 level is reached.

The legislative deal producing the new law followed a union-backed effort to put a minimum wage increase on the November ballot. A proposal to increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2021 qualified to be on the ballot, but the legislative action replaced the effort.

The minimum wage increase isn’t the only change coming to California’s employment laws in 2017. On December 15, Mark Schickman and Cathleen Yonahara, editors of California Employment Law Letter and attorneys with Freeland, Cooper, and Foreman LLP, will explain what changes California employers should make to their handbooks for the new year. Click here for “2017 California Employee Handbook Updates: Policy Revisions to Make on Pay, Smoking, Background Checks, Paid Leave, and More.”

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