There is no question that the minimum wage in California is too low. While some employers may not agree with this statement, anyone making minimum wage who actually tries to live in Los Angeles or the Orange County area and take care of a family knows all too well the reality of the situation. The bottom line is dedicated employees are working hard for minimum wage, but they are unable to make ends meet and take care of their families.
In order to correct this problem, there has been a lot of talk about raising the minimum wage in California, but, if these bills do not pass, it may not be anything more than talk. According to a recent news article from Business Management Daily, legislative efforts to raise the statewide minimum wage have stalled. The main bill, which many consider to be controversial, is Senate Bill 3 (SB 3), which was designed to increase the state minimum in wages in phases over several years. The total increase would have been in the amount of $3 per hour. The bill would have also set up a schedule for annual cost of living increases (COLAs). The first phase would have increased the minimum wage rate for the state of California to $11.00 per hour, and this would have gone into effect on January 1, 2016. On July 1, 2017, there would have been an automatic increase in the state minimum wage to $13.00 per hour. The automatic COLA increases would have begun in 2019.
As our Orange County employment lawyers understand, while there was some hope the bill would make it through the legislative process and make it to the governor’s desk for signature, it seems State Assembly (specifically the appropriations committee) chose to the retain the bill, rather than advancing it to the floor for a vote. In the state of California, there is a State Assembly and a State Senate. The separate legislative bodies function much like United States Congress. A bill can be started in either the senate or the assembly, but in order for the governor to sign it into law, both houses must pass the legislation with a vote on the floor. Also, like with federal government, if one decided to change or amend a bill, there must a reconciliation process at some point.
While this may not matter for those who, in Los Angeles the city, like others across the county, have chosen to raise the citywide minimum wage to a rate above the state and federal minimum, it will have an impact on workers who are employed outside of city limits.
Some members of the committee have alluded to the fact that the bill may be placed back on track the following year, but nobody is holding out much hope of that actually transpiring, absent a strong showing of support from the general public. The sad reality is that employers are all too often more concerned about their respective profit and loss statements than they are about whether their employees can live off of what they are earning.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
California minimum wage bill stalls in legislature, September 23, 2015, Business Management Daily, by The HR Specialist
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