IR # 97-47
Friday, August 29, 1997

Rick Rice
Dean Fryer
(415) 972-8835

Minimum Wage Increases to $5.15 per hour Starting on Labor Day

SAN FRANCISCO -- California workers who earn minimum wage will see their pay increase to $5.15 per hour starting this Monday, September 1, 1997. The increase comes from a change in the federal minimum wage law enacted last year and adopted by the California Industrial Welfare Commission in August 1996.

The Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC), which has historically set, through its wage orders, standards for wages, hours and working conditions in California, also adopted the provisions of Proposition 210, passed by the voters in November 1996, which will lift the California minimum wage rate to $5.75 per hour beginning on March 1, 1998.

To help people understand the changes in the minimum wage laws, a toll-free number was established to provide pre-recorded information.

The toll free phone number is 1-888-ASK-WAGE (1-888-275-9243). The line offers detailed information for both employers and employees in English, Spanish and Chinese languages. Anyone who dials the number will hear a recorded message that summarizes the changes in the minimum wage.

The hotline also provides information on applicability of the state's opportunity wage, meal and lodging credits, and how the new minimum wage affects tipped employees.

In addition, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement can provide information for individuals who are not being paid at the appropriate rate and need to file a wage claim. The telephone number for the nearest office is listed in the government pages of local directories under California State Government, Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (State Labor Commissioner).

Employers must pay their workers the increased minimum wage rate for work performed on and after the effective date of the wage rate increase. Work performed prior to the effective date would be paid at the old rate.

The official notice of the increase in minimum wage was mailed in early December to every California employer that is registered with the State Employment Development Department. Anyone wanting a copy of the most recent official notice (MW-98) may call the Department of Industrial Relations at (415) 972-8844.