By Pamela Wolf, J.D. On March 31, the California Legislature finalized what is reportedly the first statewide $15 an hour minimum wage requirement in the nation, set for implementation in 2022 for larger employers and in 2023 for smaller employers. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill April 4. The bill, S.B. 3, also removes the exemption for in-home social service workers from California’s paid sick days statute. Large employers. For employers with 26 or more employees, the minimum wage increases will phased in as follows under S.B. 3: January 1, 2017, to $10.50; January 1, 2018, to $11; January 1, 2019, to $12; January 1, 2020, to $13; January 1, 2021, to $14; and January 1, 2022, to $15. Small employers. Employers with 25 or fewer employees would be required to phase in the minimum wage increases as follows: January 1, 2018, to $10.50; January 1, 2019, to $11; January 1, 2020, to $12; January 1, 2021, to $13; January 1, 2022, to $14; January 1, 2023, to $15. Indexed to inflation. After January 1, 2023, the minimum wage would will be increased annually from the seasonally adjusted CPI, but not by more than 3.5 percent, with the resulting amount rounded to the nearest $0.10. The increase would be calculated on August 1 to take effect on January 1 of the following year. Safety valves. As Governor Brown noted, S.B. 3 includes certain safety valves that would pause the wage increases should negative economic or budgetary conditions arise. The governor may take action by September 1 of each year to pause the next year's wage increase for a year if there is a forecasted budget deficit of more than one percent of annual revenue, or poor economic conditions, particularly negative job growth and retail sales. In-home supportive services workers. The legislation also would phase in paid sick leave for in-home supportive services workers with eight hours or one day paid sick leave beginning on July 1, 2018. Thereafter, sick days would be increased as minimum wage increases are phased in for employers with 26 or more employees to 16 hours or two days when the minimum wage is $13; and to 24 hours or three days when the minimum wage $15. Paid sick days would be earned at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. “California is proving once again that it can get things done and help people get ahead,” Governor Brown said in a statement. “This plan raises the minimum wage in a careful and responsible way and provides some flexibility if economic and budgetary conditions change.”
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