California, Labor Groups Reach Tentative Deal To Raise Statewide Minimum Wage To $15/Hour

Image courtesy of Steve Depolo

California is poised to become the first state to adopt a $15 an hour minimum wage. Over the weekend legislators in the state said they had reached a tentative agreement with labor unions that would see the state rollout the wage increase over the next six years.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the deal, which would first increase the minimum wage to $10.50 an hour in 2017, could be finalized by Gov. Jerry Brown by the end of the day.

While the deal is a big step for raising the statewide minimum wage in California, the measure still must be approved by the state legislature.

Sources tell the L.A. Times that the measure could be added as an amendment to a minimum-wage package that stalled last year and voted on by late next week.

If lawmakers pass the minimum-wage package the state would avoid taking the issue to a ballot vote in the fall.

“This is not a done deal,” Sen. Mark Leno, told The Associated Press. “Everyone’s been operating in good faith and we hope to get it through the Legislature. The governor and stakeholders have all been negotiating earnestly and in good faith for some time.”

Under the tentative deal, companies in the state would be required to gradually increase worker pay in intervals of $.50 to $1.00 until it reaches $15 an hour in 2022.

Specifically, the statewide minimum wage would increase from $10/hour to $10.50/hour in 2017, then increase another $.50 in 2018, followed by $1 increase for the next four years, the L.A. Times reports.

Not all businesses would be required to follow the increase, at least on the same schedule. The L.A. Times reports that businesses with fewer than 25 employees would have an extra year to comply, delaying their workers receiving a $15 hourly wage until 2023.

Additionally, any future statewide minimum wage increases would be tied to inflation, under the proposal.

The L.A. Times reports that while the proposed increase would affect the entire state of California, cities could boost wages — to any amount — prior to 2022.

Last year, the Los Angeles City Council approved a measure to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15/hour by 2020.

Under that plan starting in July, the hourly wage will increase to $10.50. Each year after would see increases to $12, $13.25, $14.25 and then $15.

Deal reached to boost California’s minimum wage to $15, avoiding ballot box battle [The Los Angeles Times]
California Raises Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour [The Associated Press]