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California Raises Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour


California’s governors and state legislators have decided on Monday to raise the minimum wage to US$15 (AU$19.68) per hour from US$10 (AU$13.12) per hour by 2022. The move made California the first largest US state to raise the minimum wage to that level, thereby giving way for more campaigns to raise the base pay nationally.

The increase in the base pay will benefit 43 percent of the state’s workforce or about 6.5 million of its residents. The proposal was to be put up for a referendum but now it is expected to be approved in the state assembly.

“This plan raises the minimum wage in a careful and responsible way and provides some flexibility if economic and budgetary conditions change,” the USA Today quoted Brown as saying. However, the governor keeps the capability of suspending the raise under poor economic conditions.

“This is an issue I’ve been working on for many years,” the NBC News quoted Senator Mark Leno as saying before the deal was finalised. “The governor and stakeholders have all been negotiating earnestly and in good faith for some time.”

California currently has one of the highest levels of minimum wage in the country along with Massachusetts, second to only Washington DC, which pays US$10.50 (AU$13.76) an hour.

A number of other cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle along with several other municipalities in California have approved raise in their minimum wages.

New York city governor, Andrew Cuomo proposed a minimum wage of US$15 an hour for NYC starting 2019 and across the city by 2021. A plan to raise the wages of the workers in the fast-food industry and the state government is already underway for NYC and the state.

The pact has also been welcomed by the Labor advocates. The move to raise the basic pay follows years of one-day strikes by the low-wage workers, who were backed by the Service Employees International Union.

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