The Rising Minimum Wage

 

With a rising cost of goods and services it has become more difficult to live in California. This raise is intended to put more money in the pockets of hardworking Californians to provide food, clothes, and housing for their families- which, in turn, will generate consumer spending for a boost to the economy.

 

Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (AB 10) in 2013 that would increase California’s minimum wage incrementally, the state’s first increase in six years. The measure raised the $8 minimum wage to $9 in July of 2014 and to $10 effective January 1, 2016.

California is the first state to implement a $10 per hour minimum wage, which is considerably higher than the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. While most employers in California are subject to both the federal and state minimum wage laws, the employer must follow the stricter standard; the one most helpful to the employee. Accordingly, all employers in California who are subject to both laws must pay the higher California minimum wage rate unless their employees are exempt.

Certain California cities may impose an even higher minimum wage or adjust their minimum wage more frequently. For example, San Francisco’s current minimum wage rate is $10.55 per hour. San Jose’s minimum wage rate also increased to $10.30 per hour effective January 1, 2015.

While the business community has expressed its concerns with the sudden increase, it remains a requirement, and businesses should be planning for the implementation.

Employers should review their compensation policies for all employees—hourly, salaried and exempt—to ensure timely compliance with the new changes in California’s minimum wage.

Enforcement

In California, the Department of Industrial Relations, manages the state’s labor and workplace safety and health laws. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DSLE) handles wage claims on behalf of workers who file claims for nonpayment of wages, overtime, or vacation pay.

These protections include the right to the new minimum wage and enforcing the employment laws on behalf of all California workers stating:

“[The Department] will not question workers about their immigrant status. The department will:

• Process all wage claims without regard to a worker’s immigration status

• Hold hearings to recover unpaid wages and represent workers without regard to the worker’s immigration status

• Investigate retaliation complaints and file court actions to collect back pay owed to any worker who was the victim of retaliation for having complained about wages or workplace safety and health, without regard to the worker’s immigration status

• Vigorously enforce the state’s employment laws to protect all California workers”.
If you are unsure whether you want to file a complaint and wish to learn more about your rights, call the state labor commissioner’s public information line or visit your local office. Find your local office by visiting their website: https://www.dir.ca.gov/ DLSE/districtoffices.htm