LOS ANGELES – The state Legislature on Thursday approved a proposal to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.
The proposal now moves to Gov. Jerry Brown, who plans to sign it during a ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday in downtown Los Angeles.
“California is proving once again that it can get things done and help people get ahead,” Brown said when a deal with legislators was announced earlier this week. “This plan raises the minimum wage in a careful and responsible way and provides some flexibility if economic and budgetary conditions change.”
Under the proposal, California’s $10-an-hour minimum wage will increase to $10.50 in January 2017, then to $11 on Jan. 1, 2018. The minimum wage will then go up by a dollar in each of the following years until it reaches $15 in 2022, after which it will continue to rise each year by up to 3.5 percent to account for inflation.
Businesses with 25 or fewer employees get an extra year to raise their wage, so that workers will be paid $15 by 2023.
The plan also gives the governor the ability to temporarily halt the raises if there is a forecasted budget deficit of more than one percent of annual revenue, or due to poor economic conditions such as declines in jobs and retail sales.
Government workers who provide in-home health services will receive an additional three paid sick days under the plan.
“One of the most basic elements of our social contract and one of the ideas upon which our society is based is the fundamental notion that if you get a job and work hard you will be able to support your family,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, said. “While California’s economy is growing, some of our hardest-working Californians have been left behind. California’s economic benefits must be shared by the people whose hard work is helping fuel our growth.”
The wage hike will affect 5.6 million workers, or about one-third of the statewide workforce, officials said.
The proposal is similar, although slightly slower, than an already-approved increased in the city of Los Angeles minimum wage. Under the city ordinance, the minimum wage will increase to $10.50 on July 1 and eventually reach $15 per hour in 2020, with future increases pegged to the Consumer Price Index.
The same wage hike schedule was also adopted for the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.
Republicans and business leaders oppose the statewide minimum-wage hike, arguing it will lead to businesses reducing the size of their workforce or increasing prices to cover the costs of the increased wages.
The Legislature’s votes coincided with a march in Beverly Hills by unionized janitors urging the Legislature to approve the deal — and to ensure the increase benefits immigrants and women workers “who are often vulnerable to exploitation and harassment on the job.”
Labor unions are pushing two separate ballot initiatives aimed at raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. Backers of one of the initiatives have said they will drop their effort if the Legislature approves the minimum wage hike. Backers of the other initiative said they are waiting until the governor signs the bill before deciding whether to drop their measure.
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