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Berliner Cohen’s Guide to California’s Minimum Wages as of 2016

September 22, 2016 | Susan E. Bishop
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California’s minimum wage is currently $10.00, which has been in effect since January 2016. The minimum wage is set to increase now that Governor Brown signed Senate Bill (“SB”) 3. SB 3 increases California’s minimum wage each year so that it will reach $15 per hour in 2022 (unless the increases are temporarily delayed at any point due to certain economic conditions).

The new law will increase this amount as follows for employers who employ 26 or more employees:

Date California’s Minimum Wage Per Hour
January 1, 2017 $10.50
January 1, 2018 $11.00
January 1, 2019 $12.00
January 1, 2020 $13.00
January 1, 2021 $14.00
January 1, 2022 $15.00

If a business has 25 or fewer employees, there is a delay of one year for implementation. Thus employers of 25 or fewer employees will have until January 1, 2018 to raise the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour, and then follow through from there with the increases on annual increments. California will soon have the highest minimum wage in the country.

In addition to California’s minimum wage, some cities and counties in California have adopted their own local minimum wage rates that are separate from and higher than the state rate. Businesses with multiple locations must be aware of the applicable rates in each location and an employee spending time in more than one location may be subject to varying to rates depending on time spent in each location.  Consult legal counsel for questions about the proper minimum wage rate.

Click here to download the full “Guide to California’s Minimum Wages as of 2016” including local minimum wage ordinances and minimum wage rates.

If you have questions about how this impacts your business, please call our main number, 408-286-5800 or email one of Berliner Cohen LLP’s employment attorneys.

Christine H. Long,

Susan E. Bishop,

Eileen P. Kennedy,

Jennifer Y. Leung,


©2016 Berliner Cohen, LLP. This article is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice or a solicitation for the formation of an attorney-client relationship and no attorney-client relationship is created through your use of the Berliner Site or your receipt of the materials.

Berliner Cohen LLP’s experienced employment law attorneys advise and represent employers and managers on a full range of legal issues affecting the workplace, including harassment and discrimination, unfair competition and trade secrets, wrongful discharge, wage and hour issues, and labor disputes. Berliner Cohen LLP also is skilled in representing employers in both State and Federal Class Action cases. For almost fifty years, Berliner Cohen LLP, founded and headquartered in San Jose, California, has been one of the most highly-respected full-service business law firms in the region. Berliner Cohen possesses the specialized expertise required to serve the business and regulatory needs of a diverse clientele, which includes publicly-traded corporations and privately-held entities across various sectors, public agencies and governmental entities, leading real estate developers, owners, operators, managers and investors, and banking and other financial institutions. Berliner Cohen also meets the growing demands of the San Joaquin Valley with its Merced and Modesto offices.