California enacted a law Wednesday that will gradually raise the minimum wage from $8 to $10, making Californians the highest-paid hourly workers in the U.S. The rate will increase to $9 on July 1, 2014, and to $10 on January 1, 2016.
Over 90 percent of California’s minimum wage workers are over the age of 20, and women of color are disproportionately employed in industries paying minimum wage. The increase, the state’s first since 2008, will boost a full-time worker’s income by $4,000 to about $20,000 a year. “For millions of California’s hard working minimum wage employees, a few extra dollars a week can make a huge difference to help them provide for their families,” said Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg in a statement earlier this month.
California’s law follows protests around the U.S. by fast food and Wal-Mart workers demanding higher wages. President Obama has also pushed for a federal minimum wage raise, from the current $7.25 to $9, with indexing for inflation.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 10/10/2013, 7/31/2013, 8/27/2013; CNN 9/25/2013; Feministing 9/26/2013