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In 1943, the California legislature increased the state minimum wage from $0.33 to $0.45 per hour. The state has steadily increased minimum wage throughout the years, almost always mandating a higher wage than the federal government. 2019 is no different, as California’s minimum wage again increased on January 1. To make matters more complicated, there is another statutory minimum salary for exempt employees, which we will discuss in the next blog. There were also numerous local minimum wage increases effective July 1, 2019, which vary from the state requirements.

With all of the different minimum wage laws in play, it is all too easy for an employer to deny employees their deserved minimum wage. Employers should stay fully on top of each increase and plan ahead – if they do not, you might have a claim for unpaid wages. The following is an overview of different minimum wages throughout California for non-exempt employees.


As of January 1, 2019, the statewide minimum wage for California is as follows:

  • Employers with 26 or more employees = $12.00 per hour
  • Employers with 25 or fewer employees = $11.00 per hour

This minimum wage will continue to increase by $1.00 per hour each year until it reaches $15.00 – which will be in 2022 for larger employers and 2023 for smaller employers. Every employer should be ready for the upcoming increase each January until it reaches $15.00.

Local Laws

July is the time that local laws mandating minimum wage increases within certain jurisdictions go into effect. This past July 1, the following changes were implemented:

    • City of Los Angeles = $13.25 for employers with 25 or fewer employees and $14.25 for employers with 26 or more employees
    • Unincorporated County of Los Angeles = $13.25 for employers with 25 or fewer employees and $14.25 for employers with 26 or more employees


  • Pasadena = $13.25 for employers with 25 or fewer employees and $14.25 for employers with 26 or more employees
  • Malibu = $13.25 for employers with 25 or fewer employees and $14.25 for employer with 26 or more employees
  • Santa Monica = $13.25 for employers with 25 or fewer employees and $14.25 for employer with 26 or more employees
  • Alameda = $13.50 for all employers
  • San Francisco = $15.59 for all employers
  • Emeryville = $16.30 or $15.00 for small and independent that have fewer than 21 locations


As you can see, the minimum wage can vary widely depending on the jurisdiction in which you work in California.

Consult with a California Employment Law Attorney You Can Trust Today

If you believe that your employer has not updated your pay in line with current minimum wage laws, you could be owed substantial back pay. Discuss your concerns with a California unpaid wages lawyer at the Mara Law Firm. Call (619) 234-2833 or contact us online today for more information.

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