Starting January 1, minimum wages jumps from $10.50 to $11 and for employers with more than 25 employees that number is bumped to $12.
Senate Bill No. 3, signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016, boosts California’s minimum wage gradually.
However, some local people say the increase is still not enough to live comfortably on the Central Coast.
“I do not think that is enough. Minimum wage is just too low, we can’t live like this,” said Stephanie Hayes, a resident of Ventura County.
She says it’s a blessing to live in California, but it comes at a cost.
“It’s rough out here,” said Hayes. “Even if you make good money, it’s hard to live to pay rent, pay for everything you need, eat, have fun, do what you want.”
Atascadero resident Bob Hallmark says the starting pay rate is moving in the right direction, but it is not a sufficient source of income.
“The cost of living here is ridiculously expensive so it would have to go up quite a bit to help the average person to be able to afford to live here,” said Bob Hallmark, Atascadero resident.
A friend of Joshua Maez’s is an owner of a small coffee shop.
He says while higher pay might be good for the employee, it might pose a problem for the employer.
“[My friend] says it’s hard when he has to hire someone like $14, $15, $16 an hour that means he has to start up-charging people on certain products,” said Joshua Maez, a resident of San Luis Obispo.
Maez says the wage increase might put his business owners like his friend out of business.
“It might cut down on business owners who say hire 10 people, that might cut them down to 5 people because they might not have enough finances or income to provide for those employees,” said Maez.
California is one of 20 states to increase starting pay in 2019.
According to the law, the minimum wage will continue to increase over time until it reaches $15 statewide by 2023.
The current federal minimum wage has not been changed since 2009 and currently sits at $7.25.