In California, most employees are at will employees. This means that they can be hired and fired at the will of the employer without much explanation. Being an at will employee can often be frustrating for Californians as they may feel like they have very little control over their employment situation.

However, every California employee should understand that they have certain employee rights that protect them from abuse. These employment laws protect employees from sexual harassment, wrongful termination, discrimination and other abuses. They also offer other protections including the right to safe working conditions and a minimum wage.

Recently, California legislatures have been debating changes to California’s minimum wage laws. Under a new bill — Assembly bill 10 — California’s minimum wage will increase incrementally over the next five years. Starting in 2014, the minimum wage would increase to $8.25 an hour. By 2018, California’s minimum wage would be $10 an hour.

Proponents of the bill argue that the increase will help close the gap between poorer hourly workers and upper class workers. Furthermore, they argue that these changes are necessary since Congress has only increased minimum wage three times in the last 30 years. Finally, they argue that when workers have more spending money, they will spend more and thereby boost California’s economy. Opponents of the bill, on the other hand, argue that these increases will hurt small businesses.

All California employees and employers should make sure they understand the current minimum wage laws and any adopted changes. If employees are not making minimum wage, they should know that they have legal rights and may have the right to compensation. Employees shouldn’t feel like they are being taken advantage of and employees do not need to work for less than minimum wage.

Source: MenloPark-Atherton Patch, “Minimum Wage Bill Going Strong,” Jacob Bourne, June 25, 2013