SB 935, authored by Senator Mark Leno, raises the minimum wage in three steps, starting at $11 an hour in 2015 and increasing an additional $1 per hour in both 2016 and 2017. Beginning in 2018, the minimum wage would be adjusted annually to the rate of inflation.
“Millions of hard-working Californians and their families live in poverty and are forced to rely on public assistance – despite holding full-time jobs,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “Accelerating an increase to the state’s minimum wage will help reduce income inequality within our communities, stimulate spending in our economy, and give low-income workers the respect they deserve for hard work.”
The Census Bureau reports that nearly a quarter of California’s 38 million residents, or 24 percent, live in poverty. An employee working full time earning $8 an hour brings home just $15,360 annually before taxes. The federal poverty level for a family of four with a single-wage earner is $23,850. San Francisco already has a higher minimum wage than the state and is considering raising it even higher. Los Angeles is also considering raising its minimum wage for hotel workers to $15.37 per hour.
Women are especially impacted by the minimum wage. About six in 10 minimum wage workers in California are women, according to the National Women’s Law Center.