California's Minimum Wage Rising Jan. 1

The minimum wage will be $10.50 an hour for employers with 25 or fewer workers and $11 an hour for employers with 26 or more. And the rates keep rising until 2023. Other new laws taking effect on Jan. 1 in the state affect agricultural workers' sexual harassment training and CalEPA oversight of refineries' safety.

California's minimum wage will be rising on Jan. 1, 2018, but not for the last time. The minimum wage will be $10.50 an hour for employers with 25 or fewer workers and $11 an hour for employers with 26 or more. And the rates keep rising until 2023.

State law requires most workers in California be paid the minimum wage, but some counties and cities have local minimum wages that are above the state rates, the Department of Industrial Relations reported.

The increases result from a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on April 4, 2016. The law made California the first state in the country to commit to raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour statewide by 2022 for large business and by 2023 for small ones.

DIR also posted its 2017 legislative digest on Dec. 4. The document lists new laws affecting workers and employers, laws that for the most part will take effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

One of the bills, Assembly Bill 579, mandates the development of a statewide firefighter preapprenticeship program that is designed to recruit candidates from underrepresented groups, particularly minorities and women. Another, Senate Bill 295, adds new requirements to the farm labor contractor sexual harassment training program and specifies that training for each employee must be in a language that employee understands. The law also says the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement must publish on its website the total number of agricultural employees trained in the previous calendar year.

Assembly Bill 1649 requires CalEPA, in consultation with Cal/OSHA and other agencies, to examine ways to improve workers' and the public's safety through enhanced oversight of refineries and to strengthen emergency readiness in anticipation of future refinery incidents. It requires CalEPA to hold at least two public meetings annually, in a location where a refinery is located, to provide current information on refinery safety.

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