According to media and government reports, California lawmakers have struck a deal with labor unions to increase the statewide minimum wage to $15.00 per hour over several years.

The deal was reached on March 26, 2016 between labor unions and Democratic state leaders, including members of the legislature and Governor Jerry Brown. The agreement was reached as a compromise to avoid a statewide voter referendum in November.

According to the media reports, the deal will increase California’s minimum wage to $10.50 per hour on January 1, 2017 and to $11.00 on January 1, 2018. Thereafter, the minimum wage would increase $1.00 per year for four years between 2019 and 2022, reaching $15.00 per hour. Thereafter, the minimum wage would be adjusted annually for inflation.

The proposed law would delay the $15.00 per hour minimum wage until 2023 for small businesses (defined as those with fewer than 25 employees).

According to reports, the California legislature could vote on the proposed law as early as April 1, 2016.

California’s minimum wage is currently $10.00 per hour, matched only by Massachusetts ($10.00 per hour) and the District of Columbia ($10.50 per hour). If the California law passes, it would eventually raise California’s minimum wage higher than the rate of any other state. Efforts are afoot in New York to increase the state minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15.00 per hour. A number of cities and counties have also targeted $15, including Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and Emeryville.


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Ogletree Deakins’ Wage and Hour Practice Group features attorneys who are experienced in advising and representing employers in a wide range of wage and hour issues, and who are located in Ogletree Deakins’ offices across the country.

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