Turning the page on the new calendar is something California employers do with a certain uneasy sense of anticipation as they find out what new laws went into effect January 1st.

We will be reporting on these changes in how you operate your business within the boundaries of state statutes, but one of the New Year changes shouldn’t surprise anybody.

Based on a 2016 law, the state minimum wage increased on January 1 to $13 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees and $12 for employers with 25 or fewer employees.

Union signatory employers should have no worries about minimum wage laws for their building trade workers but must comply with the rule for everybody else in their office, from the yard person on up the job ladder. Ditto plus for nonunion companies as they have to review compensation for field workers as well.


Schedule for California Minimum Wage Rate

California, the first state in the nation to commit to raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, is now joined by 23 other states who passed some form of minimum wage hikes. The federal minimum, last increased in 2009, remains at $7.25.

In addition to the state and federal minimum wage laws, 33 California cities have adopted new wage standards. The Department of Industrial Relations advises: “The effect of this multiple coverages by different government sources is that when there are conflicting requirements in the laws, the employer must follow the stricter standard; that is, the one that is the most beneficial to the employee.”

Among the many provisions of California’s wage law is one that prohibits employers from having workers sign forms of agreement to pay less than the state minimum, a formerly common practice, but now a felony.

Employers must post information on wages, hours and working conditions at a job site area accessible to employees. Notices for the wage orders in English and Spanish can be downloaded and printed from the workplace postings page on the DIR website.

As to the other changes, we will be going into them indepth, starting with this issue and continuing through the year and through the next session of the legislature, which started this month.

Date  Minimum Wage for Employers with 26 or More Employees Minimum Wage for Employers with 25 or Fewer Employees
January 1, 2020 $13.00/hour $12.00/hour
January 1, 2021 $14.00/hour $13.00/hour
January 1, 2022 $15.00/hour $14.00/hour
January 1, 2023 $15.00/hour $15.00/hour