CALIFORNIA MINIMUM WAGE INCREASING « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


From $8.00 to $9.00/hour, July 2014 To $10.00/hour, January 2016

California’s $8.00/hour minimum wage will continue its pace as one of the highest in the nation; rising to $9.00/hour on July 1, 2014, and to $10.00/hour on January 1, 2016.  In approving the recent legislation, Governor Brown stated, “This legislation is overdue and will help families that are struggling in this harsh economy.”

Washington State currently has the highest minimum nationally, at $9.19/hour, adjusted annually based on the consumer price index (due to increase to $9.32 January 1, 2014).  California currently ranks 5th highest in the country.  State minimum wage rates range down to Georgia and Wyoming at the bottom, matching the federal minimum level of $7.25/hour.  That federal minimum did not increase for 20 years, from 1997 to 2007.  Congress not expected to raise it again in the foreseeable future.

On its face, any rise in minimum wage would not appear to pose any significant burden.  A 2012 Federal Department of Labor Survey found only 1.6 million workers paid at that level, some 2.1% at the national labor force.

Nevertheless, California employers should note additional costs indirectly created by a rise in the “wage floor.”  Increased minimum wage levels will tend to push up other hourly wage rates for companies that want to keep pace at some proportion above the minimum.  Higher wage rates lead to higher payments on employment taxes as well as workers’ compensation premiums. 

The scale of such impacts depends of course on the size of a business’s payroll.  Particularly for large employers, an increase in wage levels is all the more reason to ensure all wage and timekeeping practices are in full compliance with applicable federal and state laws.

For example improperly calculated overtime, faulty procedure on meal and rest periods, or substandard clock-in and clock-out systems and rules can create expensive challenges, in the worst case from a claimed class of numerous workers allegedly affected across-the-boards. 

For information concerning wage levels and related workplace practices, as well as model employee policies and forms, contact one of our attorneys Tim Bowles or Cindy Bamforth.