WHAT’S NEW FOR 2018 – California Minimum Wage Rates for 2018

California minimum wage will increase to $11.00 per hour on January 1, 2018 for employers with 26 or more employees and $10.50 for smaller employers with 25 employees or less. Those rates will continue to increase annually until reaching $15 per hour in 2022 for larger employers and in 2023 for those with 25 or fewer employees. See California’s Gradual Increases in Minimum Wage, to Reach $15.00 Per Hour by January 1, 2022 (April, 2016).

Concurrently, many California cities (and two counties) have implemented their own minimum wage ordinances. See the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education listing for regular updates. Employers should examine the rules for every jurisdiction in which they operate, not just the one or more where they might have offices. Close attention is required as different municipalities have different definitions of “covered employer” and/or “covered employee.” For example, a delivery company with drivers routinely working in multiple cities or counties each week may well have separate minimum wage compliance issues simultaneously.

These California municipalities require minimum wage levels greater than the state standard as of January 1, 2018:

City or County Minimum Wage Rate
Berkeley  (was effective Oct. 1, 2017) $13.75
Cupertino $13.50
El Cerrito $13.60
Emeryville $14.00 (55 or fewer employees)

and $15.20 (56 or more employees)

Los Altos $13.50
Los Angeles City (was effective July 1, 2017) $10.50 (25 or fewer employees)

and $12.00 (26 employees or more)

Los Angeles County (Unincorporated Areas) (was effective July 1, 2017) $10.50 (25 or fewer employees)

and $12.00 (26 employees or more)

Malibu (was effective July 1, 2017) $10.50 (25 or fewer employees)

and $12.00 (26 or more employees)

Milpitas $12.00
Mountain View     $15.00
Oakland   $13.23
Palo Alto $13.50
Pasadena  (was effective July 1, 2017) $10.50 (25 or fewer employees)

and $12.00 (26 employees or more)

Richmond  $13.41
San Diego    (was effective January 1, 2017)        $11.50
San Francisco City and County    (was effective July 1, 2017) $14.00
San Jose     $13.50
San Leandro $12.00
San Mateo              $13.50
Santa Clara             $13.00
Santa Monica   


$10.50 (25 or fewer employees)

and $12.00 (26 employees or more)

Sunnyvale $15.00


Note: The City of Belmont has enacted its own minimum wage ordinance effective December 28, 2017, but employers will not need to start paying $12.50 per hour until July 1, 2018.

Some cities have enacted separate minimum wage laws for hotels. For example, Long Beach has a minimum wage of $14.35 (effective July 1, 2017) only for hotel workers. Santa Monica’s minimum wage for hotel workers is $15.66 (effective July 1, 2017). City of Los Angeles’ hotel workers minimum wage is $15.66 (effective July 1, 2017).

Non-profit charitable organizations should check for possibly slower implementation requirements.

A covered employer must also conspicuously post an updated wage notice/bulletin for each applicable jurisdiction. Click the above city/county link(s) to download the most current notice.

See also:

For more information, please contact one of our attorneys, Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Helena Kobrin

December 28, 2017

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