State and Local Minimum Wages Will Increase Jan. 1

State and Local Minimum Wages Will Increase Jan. 1


Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, employers with 25 or fewer employees will pay California’s new minimum wage of $11 and employers with 26 or more employees will begin paying their employees $12. HOWEVER, if the local minimum wage is higher than the state wage, employers of every size MUST pay the local minimum wage.

Minimum wages or “living wages” are rising higher and more quickly than the state minimum wage in some California cities and counties. Because the wage increases vary across localities and according to the number of employees, employers should review their individual city ordinances and follow the applicable posting requirements to ensure compliance.

Again, when paying employees, employers must follow the stricter wage standard — specifically, the one that is the most beneficial to the employee.

Legislation signed into law in 2017 by Gov. Jerry Brown requires California’s minimum hourly wage to rise again by $1 in January 2020 and annually thereafter until it reaches $15. The law does allow the governor to suspend a scheduled wage increase in the event of an economic slowdown (defined as negative job growth combined with negative retail sales for a specified time period) or if a budget deficit is forecasted for the current budget year up to two additional years. 

The new downloadable California Minimum Wage notice will be available by Jan. 1 on the website of the Department of Industrial Relations.