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Proposed increase to California minimum wage

Lawmakers are in the process of trying to raise California's statutory minimum wage of $8 per hour. A California Assemblyman proposed a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $8.25 per hour in 2014, $8.75 per hour in 2015, $9 per hour in 2016, $9.50 per hour in 2017 and finally $10 per hour in 2018. Similar bills were proposed in 2010 and 2011, but the State Assembly Appropriations Committee did not push the bills through.

If the proposed legislation is passed by the appropriations committee, it would then be put to a vote by the Senate. The law was last scheduled to be heard by the Committee on Aug. 30 after previously being delayed. Even if the bill passes through the Committee, it may still be amended before it goes to a vote in the Senate.

An employee who works full-time at minimum wage would earn a yearly total salary of $16,640, which is only $1,500 more than the California poverty line for a two-person household. One business owner claimed that the minimum wage does not need to be livable, as it is only meant as a beginning salary. Some businesses take issue with the proposed wage and hour laws, stating that they would hurt and impede economic growth by increasing the cost of conducting business.

Employers are not required to give their employees raises. They are, however, required to comply with minimum wage laws and wage and hour requirements. One benefit of a minimum wage law is that employees may take legal recourse against their employers if the employers are not paying their employees the legal minimum. An employment law attorney may be able to represent employees whose employers are denying them wages under California law.

Source: Hispanic Business, "Lawmakers to Hear Minimum-wage Bill", Jack Katzanek, August 30, 2013

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