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New Year Brings Small Uptick In California Minimum Wage


California's minimum wage is set to tick up in January —from $10 an hour to $10.50. This will be the first step in a law that raises the statewide minimum to $15 an hour by 2022.

An extra $0.50 an hour might not sound huge, but Ryan Belden, who's studying government at Sacramento State, says it's bound to help.

"I currently make $10 an hour, and my phone can only work when I'm talking on speakerphone at the moment," Belden says.

He'd just finished a shift waiting tables at an assisted-living facility. For him and his wife —the breadwinner who earns $14 an hour at her job, the extra cash could be a cushion the next time something expensive, like their car, breaks.

"We just recently fixed the axle —the axle was cracked, but we have to spend a good chunk of our money on car repair," Belden says.

Ther are exceptions to the new statewide law. Some cities have higher minimum wages, such as Los Angeles County. And the increases for employers with 25 or fewer workers will not start for another year.

Daniel Potter


Daniel Potter started out as an intern at Nashville Public Radio, where he worked as a general assignment reporter for six years, covering everything from tornadoes to the statehouse.   Read Full Bio 

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