Does the state minimum wage automatically increase?

Since minimum wage laws vary by state, how much you may earn in minimum wage will vary depending on which state you live in. Also, in some states, the minimum wage automatically goes up depending on certain conditions. California is one of these states. Its minimum wage is not permanently set and will increase by year. 

This is important to know because if you work for minimum wage in the state of California this year, your wages will likely go up the next year. If your wages remain stagnant, your employer may be in violation of state law. 

Yearly increases 

According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, the minimum wage for California increases on a yearly basis. This increase varies depending on the number of employees a workplace has. A workplace with 25 employees or less pays a smaller minimum wage than workplaces that employ 26 or more workers. So for instance, if you work for an employer that hires 25 or fewer employees, your minimum wage for 2020 would stand at $12 an hour. 

Yearly schedules 

The state law requires a minimum wage increase for every year up to the year 2023. By this time, California workplaces regardless of the number of workers they employ must pay their employees a minimum wage of $15 per hour. However, this provision is subject to temporary suspensions from the governor if certain circumstances warrant it. Additionally, a new law passed by the legislature or an initiative might alter this payment schedule in the meantime. 

Law conflicts 

There are other minimum wage laws that might conflict with the state’s minimum wage payment schedule. Your local municipality may require employers to pay a higher minimum wage than the current state law. The California DIR explains that when minimum wage laws on the local, state or federal law conflict, the higher standard must apply. Because of this fact, your employer should not use the state law as an excuse to pay you less.