California delays $25 healthcare worker minimum wage

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation May 31 to delay the start of minimum wage increases for healthcare workers by one month.

The legislation, SB 828, authored by California Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, postpones the start of the wage adjustments to July 1, the beginning of the state's fiscal year. 

This provides additional time for the governor's administration to continue to work with state lawmakers and stakeholders to tie provisions related to the healthcare worker minimum wage law, SB 525, to state budget conditions, according to CalMatters.

Mr. Newsom signed SB 525 in October to gradually increase the minimum wage for healthcare workers to $25 per hour, starting June 1. The law calls for annual increases, ranging from $18 to $25 per hour, with healthcare facilities expected to reach a $25 per hour minimum wage by June 1, 2028, or, for some in rural locations, 2033.

The governor then released a price estimate of $4 billion in the 2024-25 fiscal year alone and indicated he wanted to potentially delay the increases in the face of the state's projected budget shortfall. 

"Given the overall economic and general fund revenue outlook and the significant fiscal impact of SB 525 on the state, the administration is seeking early action in January by the legislature to add an annual 'trigger' to make the minimum wage increases subject to general fund revenue availability, clarify the exemption for state facilities, and make other implementation clarifications," Mr. Newsom said when he released his initial budget proposal in January. 

When he introduced his revised budget proposal in May, the governor said he "will not sign the budget without that deal that we committed to being addressed."

Negotiations are ongoing.

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