California Raises State Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour

Finance

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Source: Ross D. Franklin, AP

Source: Ross D. Franklin, AP

California reached an agreement to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2022.

The deal was reached on Monday by Governor Jerry Brown and state legislators. This marks the first state to “lift base earnings to that level and propelling a campaign to lift the pay floor nationally,” shared USA Today.

The rise in income will change the wages for about 6.5 million California residents, or 43 percent of the state’s workforce.

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“This plan raises the minimum wage in a careful and responsible way and provides some flexibility if economic and budgetary conditions change,” Brown explained.

California isn’t the only state interested in raising the minimum wage.

Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a bill in New York City to raise the minimum wage to $15 starting in 2019 and continuing to 2022.

Source: national conference of state legislatures

Source: national conference of state legislatures

The $15 increases “clearly would create national momentum for other states to follow their lead,” shared Paul Sonn, the National Employment Law Project’s general counsel. “This is a very, very significant increase and for the first time would begin to reverse years of falling pay at the bottom.”

The decision to pass the legislation comes after a series of strikes by low-wage workers, especially in the fast-food industry. The $15 wage has also become a hot topic during the presidential campaign.

The Democratic Party supports “a $15 minimum in its platform,” backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I – Vt.). Hillary Clinton currently supports a $12 plan. Republicans have denied the proposals in Congress when trying to increase the wage from $7.25 to $10.

Under the plan, the income in California would rise to $10.50 in 2017, $11 in 2018, and a dollar each year until 2022.

“I’m hoping that what happens in California will not stay in California, but spread all across the country,” Brown shared in the Los Angeles Times. “It’s a matter of economic justice. It makes sense.”

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