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California passes bill to raise minimum hourly wage to $15

Governor Jerry Brown received a brokered bill to raise the minimum hourly wage in California to $15 by 2022. This bill was the result of weeks of negotiations between lawmakers and labor representatives. The bill was on an expedited voting schedule and was approved earlier last week. 

The first raise will be $10.50 on January 1, of 2017 and then to $11 in 2018 and a raise of one dollar every year until 2022 when it will be $15. The reason for the step-up is to allow businesses and the economy to adjust to the new minimum wage. By 2024, the minimum wage will then go up based upon inflation. This wage hike will affect an estimated 5.9 million workers or about one in three Californian employees. If you are employed by a small business with less than 26 employees, then your wage increase is delayed by one year.

And while the wage increase has been called historic, there is divided opinion regarding its merits. The proposal enjoys wide support among Democratic lawmakers and labor groups, but others argue that the measure could lead to a loss of job opportunities for some.

If you are employed in California, then this new rule applies to you. Your employer has some time before they are forced to raise your wage and there are some jobs that are exempt. However, this law will affect the majority of California workers. If your employer refuses to raise your wage, then you may want to contact an employment lawyer. It is possible your rights are being violated and you have a valid claim. An attorney can go over the situation and help you determine the best course of action. 

Source: LA Times, "Legislature approves minimum wage increase, sending historic measure to Gov. Jerry Brown," Liam Dillon and Patrick McGreevy, March 28, 2016.

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