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California Minimum Wage by City in 2022 and 2023
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Workforce Management

California Minimum Wage by City in 2022 and 2023

One Minute Takeaway

  • In California, minimum wage is determined by the cost of living and is much higher than the federal minimum.
  • Businesses with 26 or more employees have a different rate than small businesses.
  • Some cities in California have a minimum wage of $16/hr or higher.

California doesn’t have just one minimum wage—it has many.

The state of California has several minimum wage laws that can often be confusing and overwhelming for businesses. In California, the minimum wage is determined by a law that links it to the cost of living. This means that the wage increases along with inflation so that workers always earn a fair wage that can help them afford to live in the state.

Employers in California don’t only have to worry about federal and state minimum wages, they’re also subject to dozens of local minimum wage ordinances. Many cities and counties across the state have legislated their own minimum wage laws that are even higher than federal or state minimum wage.

These local minimum wages typically increase on an annual basis, before August 1, based on inflation as measured by the local Consumer Price Index (CPI). The state of California and many of its municipalities also specify a separate, smaller minimum wage law for small businesses with fewer than 26 employees. Before August 1 of every year, the Director of Finance determines if the minimum wage will increase based on the rate of inflation. 

What is the Minimum Wage in California?

The minimum wage in California for 2022 for employers with 25 or fewer employees is $14 an hour. Employers with 26 or more employees pay $15 per hour. In 2023, the minimum wage rates for all employers will increase to $15.50 to level out the playing field. This means some employees will get a jump of $1.50/hr if they were making $14 an hour in 2023. The minimum base wages will be the same for non-exempt employees.

Local regulations add yet another layer of complexity to California’s labor laws. If you operate in more than one location, you could be subject to multiple different minimum wage levels in a single day. Get your calculations wrong and you face the prospect of wage and hour lawsuits.

Whether it’s the minimum wage in San Jose or SF minimum wage, to help your organization stay compliant with the latest minimum wage requirements, Paycor has created this chart of California minimum wage by city and county.

On July 1, 2022, there were many minimum wage increases across local governments in California. Please note that while the California minimum wage is going to $15.50/hr on January 1, 2023, the federal minimum wage is still just $7.25/hr.

County or City2022 Minimum Wage2023 Minimum Wage2022 Minimum Wage for Small Businesses2023 Minimum Wage for Small Businesses
Alameda$15.7515.75 + CPI (not to exceed 5%)
Belmont$16.2016.20 + CPI
Berkeley$16.9916.99 + CPI
Cupertino$16.4016.40 + CPI
Daly City$15.00$16.07 (effective 1/1/23)
East Palo Alto$15.60$15.60 + CPI
El Cerrito$16.37$16.37 + CPI
Emeryville$17.48$17.48 + CPI
Foster City$15.75$16.50 (effective 1/1/23)
Fremont$16.00 for all employers$16.00 + CPI for all employers
Half Moon Bay$15.56$15.56 + CPI (up to 3.5% per year)
Hayward**$15.56$15.56 + CPI$14.52$15.00
Los Altos$16.40$16.40 + CPI
Los Angeles$16.04 ($18.86 per hour for employees at large hotels )$16.04 + CPI ($18.86 per hour for employees at large hotels)
Los Angeles County$15.96$15.96 + CPI
Malibu$15.96$15.96 + CPI
Menlo Park$15.75$15.75 + CPI capped at 3%
Milpitas$16.40$16.40 + CPI
Mountain View$17.10$17.10 + CPI

$15.77 for businesses with 100+ employees
$15.53 + CPI (for businesses with 26-99 employees)

$15.77 + CPI (for businesses with 100+ employees)
Oakland$15.06$15.50 (new State-wide minimum wage effective 1/1/23)
Palo Alto$16.45$16.45 + CPI
Pasadena$16.11$16.11 + CPI$14.00$15.00
Petaluma$15.85$17.06 (effective 1/1/23)
Redwood City$16.20$16.20 + CPI
Richmond$15.54$15.54 + CPI
San Carlos$15.77$15.77 + CPI capped at 3.5%
San Diego$15.00$16.25 (effective 1/1/23)
San Francisco$16.99 (Government supported employees – $15.03)$16.99 (effective 7/1/22 – 6/30/23)
San Jose$16.20$16.20 + CPI
San Leandro$15.00$15.50 (new State-wide minimum wage effective 1/1/23)
San Mateo$16.20$16.20 + CPI
Santa Clara$16.40$16.40 + CPI
Santa Monica15 $15.96$15.96 + CPI
Santa Rosa$15.85$17.06 (effective 1/1/23)
Sonoma$16.00$17.00 + CPI for large employers; $16.00 + CPI for businesses with less than 25 employees (effective 1/1/23)$15.0016.00 (effective 1/1/23)
South San Francisco$15.80$15.80 + CPI
Sunnyvale$17.10$17.10 + CPI
West Hollywood$16.50 for large employers. $16.00 for employers with fewer than 50 employees
$18.35 for hotel employees
$18.86 for large employers (effective 7/1/23)
$18.86 for businesses with less than 50 employees (effective 7/1/23)
$18.86 for hotel employees (effective 7/1/23)
$15.00 increasing to $16.00$17.00 increasing to $18.86 (effective 7/1/23)

In certain jurisdictions, nonprofits are exempted or subject to a lower minimum wage. Exemptions or reductions may also apply to younger exempt employees classified as ‘learners’. Additionally, there may be higher minimum wage levels for employees of large hotels or airports. Unlike some states, California does not allow employers to take tip credits, and so there is no separate tipped minimum wage.

How should small business owners prepare for minimum wage increases?

While minimum wage increases may pose a challenge for small businesses, there are ways to stay ahead of the curve. By keeping up to date on changes to the minimum wage and adjusting prices and compensation as necessary, small business owners can avoid being caught off guard. 

If a minimum wage increase is on the horizon, it’s important to look at your budget and financial records, such as operational costs, in preparation for the change.

You will likely need to make some serious financial decisions, whether that means layoffs or increasing prices. You should also look at all your employees’ wages, not just the ones who will get the boost from an increase, as this might put their rate of pay close to some of your more senior staff who might make just above the new minimum wage rate.

Additionally, making sure professional employees are aware of the changes and how they may be affected can help minimize the impact on the business. Finally, communicating with customers about any price changes can help ensure that they understand and are prepared for the changes. 

What is the California Minimum Wage for 2023?

On January 1, 2023, the state-wide California minimum wage will rise to $15.50 per hour for all employer sizes. Currently, in 2022, the minimum wage in California is $14/hr for employers with less than 25 employees and $15/hr for employers with more than 25 employees. However, as you will see in the table above, different cities can create minimum wage laws that are higher than the state minimum wage.

The minimum wage in California was set to increase each year until it reached $15/hr in 2022. However, on July 27, 2022, a new minimum wage of $15.50 is set to go into effect on January 1, 2023, due to the high inflation rate in the past year. This is for all sizes of employers. Those who were making $14/hr with an employer that had less than 25 employees will now make $15.50/hr starting January 1, 2023, under the new revisions.

As you can see, the cost of living in California is quite high, especially in major cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. This means that workers need to be paid a higher wage to afford the same standard of living as someone in a less expensive area. The minimum wage allows workers to earn a livable wage and helps to reduce income inequality.

What is a Good Hourly Wage in California?

The Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, put together what they find to be a living wage, a poverty wage, and the minimum wage for various states based on family size with their living-wage calculations of California.

According to MIT’s research, a single person in California, who makes $21.82/hr is making a “living wage.” This is compared to the current $15.00/hr minimum wage, and a poverty wage of $6.19/hr.

For two adults living together with just one of them working, a living wage is $33.58/hr, compared to the $15.00/hr minimum wage, and $8.38/hr poverty wage.

For two adults living together who both work, a living wage is $16.79/hr, vs. $15.00/hr minimum wage, and $4.19/hr poverty wage.

These are all based on having no children, and the current minimum wage of $15.00/hr that is planned to rise to $15.50/hr on January 1, 2023.

If you have children, then the living wage calculation increases based on the number of children, and how many adults are working in the household.

What are Full-Time Hours in California?

Full-time employees in California work 40 hours/week and 5 business days.

The Affordable Care Act considers anyone working 30 hours or more per week at an employer with 50 or more employees, as one who is eligible for benefits in California. Full-time employment is at the discretion of the employer. It is up to each employer to determine whether or not they call anyone working less than 40 hours per week full-time.

Is the Minimum Wage $16 an Hour in California?

The state minimum wage in California is currently $15 an hour for employers with more than 25 employees and $14.00/hr for employers with less than 25 employees. On January 1, 2023, the statewide minimum wage, regardless of the size of the company is rising to $15.50 an hour.

Certain local places do have a minimum wage of $16/hr or higher. Some include Berkeley, Emeryville, Los Angeles, Milpitas, Pasadena, San Francisco, and more. Santa Rosa’s minimum wage will rise to $17.06 from $15.85 on January 1, 2023.

Can A Person Live in California on 50k a Year?

Living in California on $50,000 per year is not going to be easy. The high costs and the state’s relatively high-income tax rate means that a person would have to make some sacrifices to make ends meet.

Most of the state is very expensive, and even with a decent salary, it would be difficult to cover all of the costs.

On a budget of $50,000 per year, it may be wiser to look for more affordable areas to live in. Places like Sacramento or Riverside might be a good option, as the cost is relatively lower than in other parts of the state.

You could also get a higher paying job which would give you more money to work with each month. Or you could get a job that offers premium wage rates for working holidays or odd hours.

In general, living in California is more expensive than living in other parts of the country. However, there are many ways to save money if you are willing to be creative. With a little bit of planning, a person could live comfortably on $50,000 per year in California.

How Paycor Helps

The good news is that Paycor can help you stay compliant, wherever you are in the country. Even if employees work in multiple locations with divergent minimum wage levels, our system tracks all relevant legislation and will alert you if an employee’s pay is ever set below the allowed level for a given location.

This way, you can be confident that your employees are always getting the pay they deserve, no matter where they work. And if any changes to minimum wage levels occur, you’ll be one of the first to know, so you can adjust employee pay rates accordingly.

To learn more about how Paycor can help you stay compliant, save time and make better business decisions, talk to a member of our team.