After a long fight, California will be the latest region in America to officially implement a $15 an hour minimum wage, joining New York and Seattle which also passed similar laws in the past year. Governor Jerry Brown has come to an agreement with state legislators to gradually increase the statewide minimum wage for all workers to $15 by 2022, according to USA Today.
The minimum wage increase would boost wages for about 43 percent of California residents — or about 6.5 million people — according to the Fight for $15 worker rights nonprofit group.
“This plan raises the minimum wage in a careful and responsible way and provides some flexibility if economic and budgetary conditions change,” Brown said in a statement.
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has already proposed a statewide $15 statewide minimum wage for fast food workers, to be implemented by 2021. In California, wages would rise to $10.50 in 2017, $11 in 2018 and a dollar annually through 2022.
But economists are worried about this recent trend toward higher wages for low-skill workers and what the impact might have on job security.
“Just as the benefits of this policy are likely to be greater because it covers a greater share of the work force than for past minimum wage increases, the risk of these costs is also higher,” said Ben Zipperer, an expert on the minimum wage at the liberal Washington Center for Equitable Growth told The New York Times. “It’s very unclear how that’s going to stack up.”