The California legislature is considering a proposal to increase the minimum wage to $9.25 an hour. However, protests throughout the country have erupted, demanding faster change, and an increase to $15 an hour. Which is more than double the current federal minimum wage. These protests have sprung up in pockets throughout the country, including Chicago, Milwaukee, New York, Detroit, and Seattle. Seattle workers have so far seen the most support from the public. The residents of a Seattle suburb known as SeaTac will be voting on a ballot provision that would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Washington already has the highest minimum wage of any state at $9.19 per hour. Nevertheless, the proposal has been backed by a wide range of individuals, from politicians to venture capitalists. Of course, the idea is also being fervently opposed by many businesses.

Critics say that increasing the minimum wage will force employers to perform less hiring, and seek to outsource even more of their labor requirements, or turn to automated machines. They also claim that consumers would be forced to pay more for their goods and services. Recently San Jose increased their minimum wage to $10 per hour, making it the second highest minimum wage outside of San Francisco. Although, it is still too early to determine what effects the increase will have on San Jose.

While economists have not yet come to a consensus on what changes would be brought about by an increase in minimum wages, one thing is clear—the U.S. has one of the lowest minimum wage rates of large developed countries. For example, the United Kingdom, Australia, and France all have minimum wages that hover at around 50% of the median income. The U.S. minimum wage is 38% of the median income; meaning that workers earning the minimum wage must work long hours and make many sacrifices just in order to make a living.

Unfortunately, even with our low minimum wage, many employers fail to properly pay their employees. Every year the California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and private attorneys recovers millions of dollars from employers for unpaid wages.

To learn more about how to recover unpaid wages from your employer or former employer contact the California employment attorneys of the Law Offices of Michael S. Cunningham, LLP. Schedule a free consultation by calling (951) 213-4786 today.

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