What is the Minimum Wage?

There are many different figures for the minimum wage, including federal, state, and possibly county or city depending on whether or not “living wage” ordinances have been put into place. It is very important for employees to stay in the know about these minimum wage figures so they are not taken advantage of by their employers.

Effective January 1, 2008, California’s minimum wage is now $8.00 per hour and is not expected to go up any time soon. However, this figure is quite generous compared to the federal minimum wage rate which is $7.25, effective July 24, 2009. According to the law, employers must adhere to the more restrictive rate which means they must pay the highest rate. Georgia and Wyoming have the lowest minimum wage rates at $5.15 per hour, while Minnesota and Arkansas barely exceed $6.00 per hour. Apparently these four states (the only four beneath the federal minimum wage rate) have little desire to attract employees.

As mentioned above, there are some cities and counties with different minimum wage rates due to their “living wage” ordinances. One such county is San Francisco which currently has a minimum wage of $9.92 per hour (effective January 1, 2011) and is set to rise to $10.24 per hour on January 1, 2012, due to high costs of living. Other areas with higher minimum wage rates include the counties of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Clara, and the cities of San Diego, Berkeley, Oakland, San Jose, and many others.

Many employers try to pay under minimum wage, which is why employees must stay informed and contact a California Attorney if their rights are being violated.