FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR # 98-5
Wednesday, February 24, 1998

CONTACT:
Dean Fryer
(415) 972-8835


California Minimum Wage Increases to $5.75 Per Hour Starting March 1

SAN FRANCISCO -- California workers who earn minimum wage will see their pay increase to $5.75 per hour starting Sunday, March 1, 1998. The new hourly amount comes as the second step of a two-step increase in the minimum wage resulting from voter approval of Proposition 210 in 1996.

The 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 shortly after its passage in November 1996.

The Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has established a toll-free phone number to provide pre-recorded information to employers and employees on state and federal minimum wage laws. The toll-free telephone number is 1-888-ASK-WAGE (1-888-275-9243). The line offers detailed information in English, Spanish and Chinese languages. Anyone who dials the number will hear a recorded message that summarizes changes in the minimum wage and 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.

Although an official notice of the increase in minimum wage was mailed to California employers last year, anyone wanting a copy of the most recent official notice (MW-98) may access it on the Department of Industrial Relations' web site at www.dir.ca.gov or by calling (415) 972-8844.

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