A controversial bill to increase California’s minimum wage has failed to pass in the state legislature. The bill would have phased in a $3.00 per hour increase to the minimum wage rate and also would have imposed annual cost of living increases.
On August 27, 2015, the California State Assembly’s Appropriations Committee decided to hold the bill rather than advance it further through the legislature. According to a statement by the committee chair, the bill may return next year.
Senate Bill 3 would have increased the minimum wage to $11.00 per hour on January 1, 2016 and to $13.00 per hour on July 1, 2017. Beginning in 2019, the bill would have imposed an annual automatic cost of living increase.
Currently the minimum wage in California is $9.00 per hour. Under existing law, the rate is scheduled to increase to $10.00 per hour beginning on January 1, 2016. This increase will make California’s minimum wage one of the two highest rates in the nation (with Massachusetts also increasing its minimum wage to $10.00 per hour starting on January 1, 2016). That status will be short-lived, because other states (including Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut) are scheduled to subsequently implement minimum wage rates that exceed $10.00 per hour. A number of cities, including several in California (for example, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Emeryville, Sunnyvale, and Berkeley) have imposed local minimum wage ordinances that increase the rate above the state minimum.
Christopher W. Olmsted is a shareholder in the San Diego office of Ogletree Deakins.