Many people are familiar with the protests across the country about raising the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour. It caught national attention a few months ago but fell into the background of the news cycle as other stories took front page. However, California lawmakers did not forget those protests and it looks that the 2016 legislative session may involve some raises to the California minimum wage.
Several California cities have already raised the minimum wage, so the overarching question is now whether or not the state government will follow suit. The 2016 legislative calendar is filled to the brim with controversial bills like police body cameras, tightened gun regulations and raising the minimum wage. The clogged docket, coupled with the fact that in 2016, every seat in the Assembly and one-half of the seats in the Senate are up for grabs, may mean that these issues could be pushed back another year, after the election.
As of right now, Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, is sponsoring a bill to raise the minimum wage to $13.00 per hour in 2017. It looks that a coalition of businesses will be heavily lobbying moderate Democrats and Republicans to withhold support of the measure. Senator Leno notes that the unemployment rate in California dropped when the minimum wage was increased from $8.00 to $9.00. The rate was only recently raised to $10.00 per hour.
Hopefully, California workers will get the wage increase they so richly deserve. Regardless, workers are entitled to receive whatever the current rate may be. If you believe that your rights as a worker have been infringed upon by your boss, then you may want to speak to an attorney to review your rights. Employment law in California is constantly evolving so there are ample opportunities by unscrupulous bosses to use these changes to take advantage of their employees. An attorney can help you understand your legal position and any claims that you may have.
Source: LA Times, "California lawmakers return to the Capitol to tackle leftover business," Patrick McGreevy and Melanie Manson, Jan. 4, 2016