Tuesday, January 7, 2014

California’s Minimum Wage Increase: Yay or Nay?

Image Credits: Washingtonpost.com

One of the highest minimum wages is about get higher once more. California Governor Jerry Brown has recently signed into law, a bill that would again raise the already high minimum wage in the state. Under this new law, the current $8.00 per dollar will then be raised to 9.00 per hour this July. According to the same law, the minimum wage in the state will be raised to $10 by January 2016. That makes the minimum wages in California well above the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

How the bill was passed into law?

It is no secret that the cost of living in California is one of the highest in the United States. Such has caused a big problem for poor and middle class families. This has prompted the Democrats to make a measure that can help the low-wage workers in the state. In spite of its good intentions, many Republicans tried to stop this law as they believed that the minimum wage of employees is not the main problem. And so these Democrat assembly members have tried their best to lobby the prevention of the bill from being passed as they argued that such increases would be hurting local small businesses. Despite this opposition though, this new minimum wage law had an overwhelming 26-11 Senate vote and a 51-25 Assembly vote.


Opposing ideas

Assemblyman Luis Alejo explained the reason behind why he drafted the wage increase bill. He argued that the poor and middle-class families are not earning enough because of the families’ low income. Given the high cost of living in the state, Alejo believes that now is the time increase the minimum wage in California. On the other hand, Republican Brian Jones said that this increase effectively makes the state unfriendly to entrepreneurs looking to open or operate business in California. High labor costs, according to him, would discourage businessmen from investing or starting a business in the state. Another Republican, Connie Conway supported Jones’ ideas. Conway argued that such move could backfire and instead make things difficult for poor and middle-class families. According to her, the high cost of labor can actually cause businesses to close down, cause unemployment. Conway also said that such move could force struggling businessmen to cut business hours or remove some employees from their jobs.


Wage Law Violations

Even when the minimum wage in California was still lower, many employers have been repeatedly failing to follow this legislation. However, despite these violations, victims fail to stand up and report incidents of wage law violations committed by companies. Though difficult for their business, employers have the responsibility of giving their employees as prescribed by the law. If you have been a victim of wage law violations, you should immediately hire a top employment attorney and file the necessary charges against your employer.

You may also find this article helpful for you: 13 States raise minimum wage on the first day of 2014