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California state law stipulates that employees must earn minimum wage. But several cities and counties across the state have their own ordinances that require employers to pay a higher hourly rate.
The current minimum wage in California is $15/hour for businesses with 26 or more employees and $14/hour for those with fewer workers.
In the new year, the hourly rate will increase to $15.50, regardless of company size.
So which cities in California have the highest minimum wage? Most of them are located in the Bay Area.
Emeryville, Alameda County tops the list compiled by the UC Berkeley Labor Center with a minimum wage of $17.68 an hour.
Two other cities, also in the San Francisco Bay Area, have a minimum wage above $17: Mountain View and Sunnyvale, both located in Santa Clara County. The minimum wage there is $17.10 an hour.
Just below the $17 mark, still in the Bay Area, are Berkeley and the city and county of San Francisco, where the minimum wage is $16.99 an hour.
At the bottom of the Labor Center list are the cities of San Diego and San Leandro, where the minimum wage is $15, regardless of company size. That’s a dollar more than the state minimum wage for small employers. But San Diego won’t be around for long – the city is raising its minimum wage to $16.30 on January 1, 2023.
In some localities, hotel workers must earn a different minimum wage. In West Hollywood, for example, the minimum wage for hotel employees has been $18.35 since July 1. In Santa Monica, the salary is $18.17.
Below, in alphabetical order, are 40 cities and counties in California that have their own minimum wage ordinances, followed by the current rate. It should be noted that many of these localities will increase their rates next year.