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Local agencies, businesses prepare for CA minimum wage increase

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Posted at 6:04 PM, Dec 22, 2021

The new year will mean a bigger paycheck for those making minimum wage in California.

This means $15 an hour for employers with 26 or more employees.

"For the last four years, we've been aligned with California state minimum wage increases which is a dollar a year," said Jennifer Gaviola, Deputy Superintendent of the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District.

2022 is the last year of the required minimum wage increase for larger employers.

Gaviola says 222 paraeducator employees will get a raise. This includes positions from campus safety assistants to those in food service.

"It's just over $120,000 annually that will continue throughout the years," she explained.

Besides school campuses, local restaurants and hotels historically have a number of minimum wage jobs.

"It's actually the second largest industry in our county - the accommodation and food services industry - and the retail industry is third," explained Diana Marin, Business Services Specialist at the San Luis Obispo County Workforce Development Board.

Hotel San Luis Obispo says its servers will see an increase in pay next month due to the minimum wage hike while it's already paying some employees more than that.

The higher wages have helped during the pandemic.

"In order to get people that are qualified or interested to stay, sometimes you have to go a little bit above that," explained David Smith, Hotel San Luis Obispo General Manager. "That's what we found over the last two years."

While some restaurants increase menu prices due to wages increasing, Hotel SLO says for them, higher prices are due to food inflation which is hitting the industry much harder.

"The cost of goods have gone up far quicker than what this increase is doing from a percentage standpoint," Smith continued.

The minimum wage increase that will come in January means it will now be $4.50 more than what it was in 2017. That's a 30% increase.

For employers with 25 or fewer employees, the minimum wage will be raised to $14 an hour.