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What is California Minimum Wage?

Effective January 1, 2017, the California minimum wage for all industries will be increased yearly until January 1, 2022:

DateMinimum Wage for Employers with 25 Employees or LessMinimum Wage for Employers with 26 Employees or More
January 1, 2017$10.00/hour$10.50/hour
January 1, 2018$10.50/hour$11.00/hour
January 1, 2019$11.00/hour$12.00/hour
January 1, 2020$12.00/hour$13.00/hour
January 1, 2021$13.00/hour$14.00/hour
January 1, 2022$14.00/hour$15.00/hour
January 1, 2023$15.00/hour

There are some exceptions to California’s minimum wage laws and they may be subject to future changes. The California Labor Commissioner maintains a helpful website answering some of the most frequently asked questions regarding California’s minimum wage.

Important Note: California’s minimum wage is mandatory, meaning that it cannot be waived by agreement or offset by an employee’s tips.

Important Note: California’s minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage. Nevertheless, California employers are subject to both California and federal minimum wage laws.

Important Note: California wage laws only apply to “employees” – not “independent contractors.” However, employers may misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid complying with California’s wage laws. To learn more about the difference between employees and independent contractors, please click here.

Are there any county or city specific minimum wages in California?

Yes, there are some counties and cities in California that have a higher minimum wage than established by the state. For example:

  • City of Berkeley: Currently $16.07 per hour. This wage is set to increase on July 1, 2021.
  • City of Cupertino: Currently $15.65 per hour.
  • City of Emeryville: Currently $16.84 per hour.
  • City of Los Altos: Currently $15.65 per hour.
  • City and County of Los Angeles: Currently $14.25 per hour. This wage is set to increase on July 1, 2021.
  • City of Malibu: Currently $15.00 per hour.
  • City of Mountain View: Currently $ 16.30 per hour. .
  • City of Oakland: Currently $14.14 per hour. Annual increases are based on the Consumer Price Index.
  • City of Palo Alto: Currently $15.65 per hour.
  • City and County of San Francisco: Currently $16.07 per hour. This wage is set on July 1, 2018.
  • City of San Jose: Currently $ 15.25 per hour. This wage is set to increase on January 1, 2018.
  • City of San Mateo: Currently $15.62 per hour. This wage is set to increase on July 1 each year until 2020.
  • City of San Clara: Currently $15.65 per hour.
  • City of Santa Monica: Currently $15.00 per hour.

These local governments may have different minimum wage ordinances for different industries. For more information regarding a specific city’s or county’s minimum wage, please consult that city’s or county’s ordinances. Additionally, UC Berkeley maintains a list of US city and county minimum wage ordinances on its website.

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