$10 Minimum Wage Approved By California Senate

Jennifer Deutschmann

The $10 minimum wage bill was approved by the California Senate. Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bill, which will increase California's minimum wage by $2.

The increase will take place in two increments. Minimum wage will increase to $9 in July 2014 and to $10 in January 2016. While the increase will not be immediate, it is good news for many California workers.

As reported by NBC News, California is the first state in the nation to approve a $10 minimum wage. Workers nationwide have complained and protested against wages that are barely livable.

Governor Brown initially opposed the increase. However, he eventually expressed his full support:

"The minimum wage has not kept pace with rising costs... this legislation is overdue and will help families that are struggling in this harsh economy."

Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Washington offers the highest state minimum, which is $9.19 per hour.

California's minimum wage has remained at $8 per hour for six years. Many fast-food and retail employees have to work more than one job to support their families.

A full-time worker, earning the current federal minimum wage, makes around $15,000 per year. $15,000 falls below the national poverty level for a family of two.

The median national salary is around $40,000.

Assemblyman Luis Alejo sponsored the bill, stating that it will provide "hardworking Californians the dignity and respect to provide for their families."

Senator Marty Block supported the legislation, pointing out the increase will help stimulate the economy.

As reported by Huffington Post, critics argue that the increase is "a job killer." As smaller business spend more on wages, they may have problems making ends meet. They could be forced to operate with fewer employees.

The $10 minimum wage in California may open discussion for increases in other states.

[Image via Wikipedia]