California minimum wage is among the most complex in the U.S.
In 2022, California became the first state to reach a $15 standard minimum wage (for large employers) and its cities continue to pass new wage laws. And it hits $15.50 for all employers in 2023.
Meanwhile, many of those cities have moved to indexed rates, meaning they increase based on the applicable Consumer Price Index (CPI) instead of a set schedule.
Also, employers should note that some jurisdictions’ minimum wage increases changed their schedule in 2022 — yet another reminder of the challenges of tracking and applying rates in California.
Lastly, before getting into the rates for minimum wage in California, at all levels of government, it should be noted that the state does not allow employers to take tip credits, so there are no separate rates for employees who regularly receive tips. And some cities have separate rates for hotel workers.
Related: Healthcare Workers Minimum Wage: $25 Trend in California
California Minimum Wage: State
At the beginning of 2022, California became the first state with a $15 minimum wage.
And California’s minimum wage is $15.50 per hour for all workers effective Jan. 1, 2023.
Minimum Wage Management. Simplified.
California Minimum Wage: Cities
The dozens of cities in California with their own minimum wage rates update at two times of the year:
Below is a rundown of the rates. (Look for an update of this post before the Jan. 1, 2023, minimum wage increases for California cities.) Of course, new employment laws in California are passed all the time, and employers should monitor their locations for potential new minimum wage rates.
Jan. 1, 2023
East Palo Alto
Half Moon Bay
- $16.34 (large employers, 26 or more employees)
- $15.50 (small employers, 25 or fewer employees)
- $16.32 (very large, 100 or more employees)
- $16.07 (large, 26-99 employees)
- $15.53 (small, 1-25 employees)
- $17 (large employers, 26 or more employees)
- $16 (small employers, 25 or fewer employees)
South San Francisco
- $16.50 (large employers, 50 or more employees)
- $16 (small employers, 49 or fewer employees)
- $17.64 (hotel workers)
July 1, 2022
- $17.68 (home to the nation’s highest minimum wage)
- $16.73 (hotel worker)
- $16.55 (concessionaire worker)
- The city otherwise follows the state rate.
- $18.35 (hotel workers)
Los Angeles County
Finally, Los Angeles County also has its own minimum wage rate:
Learn more about how Los Angeles County minimum wage works.
Salary thresholds effective Jan. 1, 2023:
- Large employers (26 or more): $64,480 annually ($5,373.33 monthly)
- Small employers (25 or fewer): $64,480 annually ($5,373.33 monthly)
- Computer Software Employees: $53.80 per hour, $9,338.78 monthly, or $112,065.20 annually
The federal standard minimum wage of $7.25 has not increased in more than a decade. It’s the longest stretch in the nation’s history without a minimum wage bump.
This situation has prompted smaller jurisdictions to pass a flurry of new minimum wage laws over the past few years. And in progressive states like California, minimum wage has become a hot employment law topic.
Employers that operate in California must monitor the ever-changing rates in the state, especially at the local level, which will only grow more challenging as rates move from regular schedules to indexing.