Where minimum wage workers get paid the most (and least) in 2018

Where do minimum wage workers get paid the most? How California fits in as it moves forward on its path to a $15 minimum wage.
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Where do minimum wage workers get paid the most? How California fits in as it moves forward on its path to a $15 minimum wage.
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California

California’s minimum wage rises again on Jan. 1. Here’s how much

By Nathaniel Levine

nlevine@sacbee.com

December 28, 2017 06:00 PM

California’s minimum wage will increase another 50 cents per hour on Jan. 1. The new minimum rate for workers at larger businesses – those with 26 or more employees – will be $11 per hour. Smaller firms will have to pay $10.50.

The Monday pay raise is part of the state’s plan to raise the minimum wage for all workers to $15 per hour by 2023.

Minimum wage workers are already making more than that in Emeryville, where the minimum wage is $15.20 – reportedly the highest rate in the country. At least 19 other California cities will have higher rates than the state as 2018 starts, and two Bay Area cities – Sunnyvale and Mountain View – will bump their minimum to $15 on Monday.

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Sacramento minimum-wage workers at small firms are already making $10.50 an hour because of the city’s minimum wage law, which will increase their wages to $11 on July 1.

With its increase, California is tied with Massachusetts for the third-highest minimum wage among states and the nation’s capital, according to data from the Labor Law Center. The highest wage belongs to Washington, D.C., where minimum-wage workers make $13.25. Washington state follows at $11.50.

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A full-time minimum-wage worker in California will make $22,880 per year at $11 per hour. The 50-cent increase translates to an extra $1,040 per year.

Researchers at UC Berkeley estimated in 2016 that increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour would affect 5.6 million Californians, raising their average annual income by $3,700. In the Sacramento region, they estimated more than 350,000 workers would be affected by the higher wage.

The next statewide raise will occur on Jan. 1, 2019, unless Gov. Jerry Brown elects to suspend it. Minimum wages will rise $1 for large businesses and 50 cents for small ones.

California first enacted a minimum wage – 16 cents per hour – in 1916. That amount would have the purchasing power of $3.58 in 2017 dollars. The purchasing power of the state’s minimum wage in in 2017 dollars peaked at $11.55 in 1968.

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Nathaniel Levine: 916-321-1026, @NathanielLevine