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California Employment Lawyers > Blog > Employment > Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Increases are Coming for California Workers

Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Increases are Coming for California Workers


In California, if you are a worker in certain specific industries, you may be due for a pay raise. That’s because the state has passed a significant increase in minimum wage—one of the first times that such a raise is industry-specific, as opposed to being applicable to all workers.

The Increases are Coming

California already has one of the higher minimum wage rates in the nation, at $15.50. That will increase to $16 by next year (2024). However, many cities have their own minimum wages, which are higher than the state minimum.

Many of the recipients of these new increases are in industries where workers are or have been essential—many helped us get through the 2020 COVID shutdowns—and which have traditionally been underpaid or underappreciated.

By the year 2028, health care workers will need to earn a minimum of $28 per hour. Fast food workers are the other beneficiaries; they will see their minimum wage rise to $20 an hour.

For fast food workers, the increase will only apply for those who work for a national chain that has more than 60 locations.

Much of the push for the increase comes from the recent efforts by union workers in multiple fields, calling for new laws and new reforms, and America’s generally positive reception to unions in recent years. Not only that, but California is the second most expensive state when it comes to cost of living.

More Sick Leave is Here as Well

If you’re not in one of those industries, you won’t get that specific minimum wage pay raise, but you will get another benefit: You’ll get more sick leave.

As it is, California requires that employees get an hour of sick leave for every 30 hours that they work, so long as the employee has worked for that employer for 30 days. There are caps on how much sick leave can be accrued.

But a new law, which also will go into effect at the start of 2024, now increases the amount of hours that an employee can accrue, to 80 hours total. You must be allowed to use five days or 40 hours at once, in any given year.

Employers can stick with the 1 hour every 30 days method of sick leave, but also can opt to provide 5 days or 40 hours of sick time up front, at the start of every calendar year. Employers can still make employees who are newly hired wait 90 days before they actually get to use the sick leave.

These sick leave rules may not apply for workers that are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Any bargaining agreement has to meet certain specific requirements, in order to excuse the employer from providing the new sick leave days to employees. .

We can help you with questions about sick leave or whether you are getting paid a legal wage. Contact the San Jose employment lawyers at the Costanzo Law Firm today.




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