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California Labor Law: "Living Wage" on the Way for California Workers

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Recent changes to minimum wage laws means good news to many workers across the state of California as the state prepares to implement its plan for a $15 minimum wage. The first step for the statewide minimum wage increase is a bump to $10.50 per hour in January of 2017. Additionally, some California cities have passed legislation offering even more.

Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation in March that will increase California's minimum wage from $10-an-hour to $10.50 per hour in January 2017, then to $11.00 on Jan. 1, 2018. The minimum wage will then go up by a dollar in each of the following years until it reaches $15 in 2022, after which it will increase annually by up to 3.5% to account for inflation based upon the national consumer price index.

For employers with 25 or fewer employees, each of the minimum wage increases will start a year later such that $15 per hour minimum would not go into effect until January 2023.

On June 7th in the city of San Diego, voters approved the Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance. This law provides use of earned sick leave of up to forty hours a year and a minimum wage of $10.50 an hour upon the Ordinance's effective date, $11.50 an hour on January 1, 2017, and increasing with the cost of living on January 1, 2019 and annually thereafter.

The final results of the election must first be confirmed by the County Registrar of Voters, the City Clerk, and then must go to the City Council for approval. This approval is expected the week of July 11th or 18th. The City will then release an implementing ordinance which will provide further information and guidance for employers.

Michael Freeland has been practicing law for 25 years and specializes in employment law matters. Contact Freeland Law APC for a free 30-minute consultation with Michael Freeland, experienced employment lawyer serving San Diego, California.

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