Many of the workers across California who earn lower wages will see a raise in wages as of January 1 under the state’s minimum wage law that eventually will boost the hourly pay rates to a minimum of $15.
Beginning Monday, small businesses, those with 25 employees or fewer will have to pay their workers a minimum of $10.50 per hour, up from the current $10. For those businesses, it is the first of several increases they will have to make under a mandate by the law that was approved last year.
Workers earning minimum wage at bigger companies, who had a pay increase last January to $10.50, will have their pay increased to $11 per hour starting Monday.
Wages are to continue rising in increments over several years. In 2022, employees at big companies will earn $15 an hour, a figure that is the rallying cry of a movement nationwide to increase low-wage earners pay. Employees at smaller businesses will reach the $15 per hour level during 2023. The increases might be delayed if the economy in the state falters.
Many workers earning minimum wage across Southern California including in Los Angeles, are being paid more due to local ordinances involving wages.
In Santa Monica, Pasadena and Los Angeles, the minimum wage is already at $12 per hour for big companies and $10.50 for smaller ones. Those rates are to climb to $13.25 and $12 respectively during July and be at $15 by 2020 for big companies and by 2021 in smaller ones.
Regulations for Long Beach, Santa Monica and Los Angeles require even higher pay for some workers at hotels.
Some cities in the Bay Area will have an increase in wages that will be higher. The minimum wage in Palo Alto will become $13.50 on January 1, up from its current $12, while in Mountain View it will climb from $13 to $15 on January 1 as well.
Wage hike proponents pitched these issues as one to create economic justice, saying it helps to shrink the expanding divide between the rich and poor, while helping working families that struggle with the high housing costs in California.
Business groups as well as other opponents predicted that the minimum wage of $15 per hour would cause some small businesses to close, and force others to increase prices and ultimately ending up with fewer jobs, as employers cut back hiring.