UCLA Labor Center

New Report: Enforcing California’s Minimum Wage Laws

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Silvia Rivera, KIWA

Silvia Rivera, garment worker and member of Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance.

Today, the California Labor Commissioner Julie Su and a broad coalition of worker, labor, and community leaders convene a day-long “Workplace Justice Summit” to discuss effective strategies and collaborations to combat wage theft and the gender wage gap.

Coinciding with this summit, the UCLA and UC Berkeley Labor Centers have released a new report, Enforcing City Minimum Wage Laws in California: Best Practices and City-State Partnership. This report outlines a framework for the enforcement of city minimum wage laws and how cities can best coordinate with state enforcement efforts. It is the first report of its kind, comprehensively documenting the wage theft provisions of all of the new minimum wage laws throughout the state.

Among the findings:

  • California has more municipalities (12) that have raised their minimum wages than any other state in the country.
  • There appears to be a consensus growing about the basic legal tools to enforce minimum wage. All 12 cities have passed enforcement provisions, including: designating a local enforcement office, issuing citations to violators, and protecting workers from retaliation.
  • Large cities are exploring how to create a well-staffed local agency, looking to San Francisco as an example. Localities of all sizes will need to build strong partnerships between local and state government.
  • The report stresses the need for partnerships with community groups to build the trust with workers that is required to enforce minimum wage and make it a reality.
Read more on wage theft and California minimum wage laws: