Californians Get Slight Boost To Minimum Wage

| by Nik Bonopartis

Minimum wage employees in California will see a small bump in their paychecks after a pay raise went into effect on Dec. 25.

The Golden State's minimum wage went from $10 an hour to $10.50, part of a series of gradual increases to bring the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour.

It's the first scheduled pay raise since March, when California Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers reached a deal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.

The increases will impact about 43 percent of workers in California who earn less than $15 an hour, according to a USA Today report at the time the bill was signed. Brown was able to strike a deal with lawmakers after agreeing to stagger the wage hikes, and include provisions that would allow him to postpone increases to the minimum wage if the state finds itself in another recession.

“This plan raises the minimum wage in a careful and responsible way and provides some flexibility if economic and budgetary conditions change,” Brown said at the time.

There are other caveats, as well. The raise only applies to people who work for companies employing more than 25, according to the Los Angeles Times. Those companies will still have to bump hourly wages for their employees, but they get an extra year to comply with the new law.

The state's minimum wage will rise to $11 an hour in 2018, then increase by $1 an hour each year until 2022.

California is one of seven states that have already passed significant wage-hike bills. Effective Jan. 1, the minimum wage in Massachusetts will be $11 an hour, according to the state's Fall River Herald News.

Like California, New York has also passed a law that will eventually raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour, while the District of Columbia will bump its minimum wage -- already the highest in the country at $11.50 an hour -- up to $12.50 an hour in July of 2017.

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