California Minimum Wage Increases for 2021

California is one of the nation’s leaders when it comes to increasing the minimum wage of its state workers, and 2021 is no exception. Beginning January 1, state and some local municipality minimum wages will increase for certain employees across California. Depending on your or your loved one’s employment situation, this could mean that you are entitled to a higher paycheck with the new year. If you believe that your employer is not paying you the state mandated minimum wage, talk to an experienced California employment law attorney about your case today.

State Increases in Minimum Wage

California determines the minimum wage of employees based on the number of workers at a particular business. For companies with 25 or fewer employees, the minimum wage increases from $12.00 to $13.00 per hour in 2021. As of January 1, companies with more than 25 employees must increase their minimum wage from $13.00 to $14.00 per hour. Because of this increase, the minimum salary that must be paid, excluding white collar exemptions, increases to $54,080.00 annually for workers employed at a business with fewer than 25 employees and $58,240.00 annually for employees at companies with more than 25 employees.

It is important to note that workers in certain sectors, like the hospitality business and agricultural workers, are exempt from the minimum wage requirements in California. Be sure to check with a lawyer to see whether the minimum wage requirements apply to your position before moving forward with a legal claim.

Municipality Increases in Minimum Wage

In addition to state increases, certain cities and municipalities across California are also increasing their minimum wage requirements. In these locations, if the city minimum wage is higher than the state, the city minimum wage applies. Beginning January 1, the minimum wage in Cupertino, Los Altos, Palo Alto, and Santa Clara increases to $15.65 per hour for employees. Other cities with higher municipal minimum wage rates include San Jose at $15.45, Oakland at $14.36, and San Diego at $14.00 per hour starting on the new year.

Other cities plan on having a minimum wage increase for their workers later in the year. For example, the city and county of San Francisco, the city and county of Los Angeles, and Santa Monica will all increase their minimum wage rates for workers on July 1, 2021.

How This Affects Workers

Increasing the minimum wage is critical for some workers who struggle to make ends meet and pay for their basic living expenses. Employers are legally required to provide non-exempt workers with the state or city mandated minimum wage, and if a company fails to adjust their pay for the higher rate in the new year the employees affected may have a valid legal claim under California wage and hour laws.

Call or Contact a Lawyer

If you believe that your employer is not abiding by the new 2021 minimum wage requirements, call or contact a local California employment law attorney near you to learn more about your legal options.