Record inflation sends California minimum wage to $15.50 in 2023

Rising inflation will push California’s minimum wage to $15.50 for all employers starting Jan. 1, 2023, the state’s Department of Finance announced Wednesday.

California increased its minimum wage to $15 an hour on Jan. 1, 2022 for employers with 26 or more workers and was set to rise to $15 an hour for employers with 25 or fewer workers on Jan. 1, 2023. But due to rising inflation, the minimum wage will increase 3.5% to $15.50 on Jan. 1 and apply to all employers, according to the Department of Finance.

The announcement comes as Californians are feeling the impact of rising inflationary costs on their wallets. To combat inflation, the state is poised to deliver tax refunds of up to $1,050 starting this fall for millions of Californians.

The Department of Finance found that the U.S. Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers increased by 7.9% from July 2021 to June 2022 compared to the 12-month period from July 2020 to June 2021. Following the implementation of $15 an hour minimum wage, California Labor Code requires that the Director of Finance before August 1 to determine if the minimum wage should be adjusted for inflation.

The labor code also specifies that when inflation exceeds 7% in the first year, California’s minimum wage rises to $15 for large employers, and “the minimum wage for employers with 25 or fewer employees must be set to the same amount” as large employers the following January, according to the Department of Finance.

The announcement from California’s Department of Finance came on the same day the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it would raise rates another 0.75% in response to inflation reaching 40-year highs, as reported by The Center Square.

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