California is on course to raise its minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2018.
Gov. Jerry Brown and the leaders of both chambers of the state legislature on September 11 announced their support for a bill that would raise the state's minimum wage from its current rate of $8.00 to $8.25 in 2014, to $8.75 in 2015, to $9.25 in 2016, to $9.50 in 2017 and finally to $10 in 2018. 2013 Bill Text CA A.B. 10.
If the bill is enacted, California's minimum wage would likely remain among the highest in the nation for years to come. California is one of the 23 states that have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. An employer must pay the rate more favorable to the employee, except in rare instances in which an employee is exempt from a state's minimum wage law but not the federal minimum wage law.
California's legislative session ends on September 13; so, if the bill is not signed into law by then, it will have to wait until next year.
A previous version of the bill would have tied California's minimum wage rate to the rate of inflation. But the Senate amended the bill to automatically increase the minimum wage at a pace "far worse than any predicted rate of inflation increase," according to the California Chamber of Commerce.
Calling the current bill a "job-killer," the chamber said the increases would come at a time when "California businesses are already struggling with significant cost increases over the next three years, including tax increases from Proposition 30, higher energy costs, higher employment assessments from the Department of Industrial Relations, and costs related to the implementation of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."