Despite the recession, in January the minimum wage rate will increase as planned, according to a statement by Gov. Newsom on Wednesday. Small businesses will face a $1 per-hour raise in wages and others a $2 per-hour increase.
Agricultural and business groups have been lobbying the governor and lawmakers to pause the wage hike until the economy has fully reopened and businesses are able to get back on their feet.
The California Restaurant Association listed this as a top priority in a letter to the administration in March. The industry group said the situation could lead to a third of all restaurants in the state closing forever.
While the budget passed last month already rejected the proposal, the Legislature had already granted the governor the authority to suspend the hike during an economic downturn.
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“Not allowing this increase to go forward will only make life harder for those Californians who have already borne a disproportionate share of the economic hardship caused by this pandemic,” said Newsom.
He added this would benefit food and agriculture workers, among other frontline workers.
Meanwhile, Assembly Bill 2956, which would relieve farmers of some of the burden for paying overtime wage premiums, has stalled in the Legislature since March.