California residents may be aware that Oakland increased the minimum wage in the city to $12.25 per hour on March 1. The decision was prompted by widespread public support and it followed similar moves in San Francisco and Seattle. Small business owners are among the most vocal opponents of increasing the minimum wage, and 223 Oakland entrepreneurs have answered questions from the Employment Policies Institute about how the $12.25 hourly rate has impacted their businesses.

The think tank reports that business owners have little good to say about the new wage and hour law, and about a quarter of them said that the new rules could lead to them shutting their doors. Approximately half of the businesses surveyed said that they have had to raise prices in order to pay the new wage, and about a third of those responding said that their employees are now working fewer hours.

The public seems to be at odds with business owners on this issue. Polls reveal that an overwhelming majority of Americans support a higher minimum wage, and 3.1 million workers have benefited from an increased minimum wage in the 21 states that have so far taken action. Business owners often claim that improving wages will lead to fewer jobs, but data from the Congressional Budget Office indicates that a nationwide $10.10 minimum wage would only lead to a modest decrease in jobs while helping over 16 million American workers.

The minimum wage law is one of several pieces of legislation designed to protect the rights of California workers. Other such laws include measures that require overtime to be paid to employees who work more than 40 hours per week. An attorney with employment law experience may assist workers in a wage dispute by pointing out these legal requirements to their employers. If these measures prove unsuccessful, an attorney could help determine the next steps to take.

Source: CBS News, “​Feeling the pain of a $12.25 minimum wage”, Aimee Picchi, April 10, 2015