The federal minimum wage is set at $7.25 per hour and likely will stay that way for the foreseeable future as the Senate failed to pass a bill to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. While the federal government may not act any time soon to boost the wages of workers, states are leading the charge to provide more money to hard working employees who deserve to be able to earn a living wage for the work they perform.
Los Angeles employment law attorneys help protect workers whose employers try to pay less than the minimum or who engage in wage theft activities like failing to pay for the entire time that an employee is at work. An increase in the minimum wage must be respected and followed by all state employers or legal action can be taken to recover unpaid wages as well as penalties.
States Lead on Minimum Wage Increases
While the federal minimum wage sets the minimum for wages nationwide, individual states can set their laws higher if they desire to do so. In 21 states plus the District of Columbia, wages higher than the federal minimums have been set. As lawmakers in Maryland, Minnesota, West Virginia, Delaware and Hawaii have approved minimum wage increases, this number is set to go to 26 states.
California is one of the states with a minimum wage above $7.25 per hour, and the wages for workers are scheduled to go up even higher. Effective July 1, the $8 statewide minimum wage will be increasing to $9. Then, by January 1, 2016, the wage will rise to $10.
While this is better than $7.25, other states have done even more for minimum wage workers. The District of Columbia, for example, will raise its minimum wage to $9.50 by July and by 2016 it will be set at $11.50. As CNN reports, it will be indexed to inflation thereafter, so minimum wage will rise as the cost of living goes up.
Unfortunately, even the $10 minimum wage that will apply across California in 2016 is unlikely to provide workers with enough money to meet their basic needs. According to Liberty Voice, a person in California who wants to live on his own would need to work 180 hours at the current minimum wage just to be able to afford rent. The National Low Income Housing Coalition has pointed out that employees earning minimum wage have to work as many as 2.6 full time jobs simply to be able to afford a two bedroom apartment in the U.S. without the rent exceeding 30 percent of their income.
State Senator Mark Leno introduced a bill in February that would get Californians closer to a living wage. The bill would raise California’s minimum to $11 in 2015, $12 in 2016 and $13 in 2017 after which it would be indexed to inflation. His bill came months after Governor Brown signed the legislation setting the current increases in place.
Employment lawsuits can be filed with assistance from the Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange County. Call 949.375.4734.
More Blog Entries:
LGBT Workplace Discrimination Statistics, December 30, 2013, Los Angeles Employment Lawyer Blog