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Raising the minimum wage in California

Every couple of years, the topic of minimum wage is bound to come up in conversations, pitting workers against political figures who may disagree on whether raising the minimum wage is a good idea or not. 2014 was one such year, which also resulted in a public address from the president who urged Congress to consider passing legislation that would change the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10, potentially affecting some 28 million Americans in the process.

Some states have already responded to the president's call to action. California passed legislation that promises a minimum wage of $10 an hour by 2016 (see "Minimum Wage" at Cal. Dept. of Industrial Relations). It's believed that this change in wages could impact some 2 million workers in California alone, as can be seen through an interactive map found on the Whitehouse's Raise the Wage webpage.

Putting aside the economic and political debate around decisions to change the minimum wage, the actual change in the law will affect all businesses in California. Across the state, business owners and operators will need to update their payrolls to make sure that they are in compliance with the new wage and hour laws. Failing to do so, as our more recurring readers know, can lead to legal disputes between workers and their employers. These disputes can easily lead to litigation and the need for experienced representation.

Changes such as raising the minimum wage are not immediate, which means business owners and operators do have time to make sure that they are in compliance with the law. After that point though, failing to pay state minimum wage would be a violation of the law, which is not a legal headache most employers want to deal with.

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