- California voters will decide in November 2024 whether the state’s minimum wage should be increased to $18 per hour by 2025 after a ballot initiative secured the necessary number of valid signatures, California Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber announced Thursday.
- Proponents of the measure originally sought to put it up for vote in the state’s November 2022 election, but the initiative failed to secure the necessary number of signatures, news outlet CalMatters reported. If enacted, Initiative 21-0043A1 would increase California’s minimum wage for large employers with 26 or more employees to $18 per hour by Jan. 1, 2025, while employers with fewer employees would need to comply with the $18 threshold by Jan. 1, 2026.
- If passed, the initiative will direct the state’s finance director to implement annual adjustments to the minimum wage every Jan. 1.
2022 marks the first year of implementation for California’s statewide $15 an hour minimum wage for large employers. Though other jurisdictions are set to cross the $15 threshold in the coming years, California currently maintains the nation’s highest state minimum wage rate; California’s $15 minimum wage is surpassed only by Washington, D.C., whose hourly rate is 20 cents more.
Proponents of the $18 initiative include Joe Sandberg, a founding investor of Blue Apron. The initiative joins a wave of other, similar proposals. Notably, Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed into effect Act 114 last month, which will push the state’s minimum wage to $18 an hour by 2028.
A tight talent market has already led large employers to explore pay increases as a means of attracting workers. In September 2021, Amazon made headlines after announcing that its average starting hourly wage for fulfillment and transportation employees had increased to more than $18 hour, reaching higher than $22 per hour in some instances.