Forget about the traditional image of the minimum-wage worker, like the teenager flipping burgers after school. Nine out of ten California minimum-wage workers are at least 20 years old. To help them make ends meet, the state is raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour. California's low-wage workers will soon become some of the best paid in the country. This will happen in stages. The current minimum wage in California is $8 an hour. It's been stagnating there for about 5 years now. It's set to rise to $9 an hour by July of 2014, and will eventually get to $10 an hour by January of 2016. Governor Jerry Brown signed this into law Wednesday, calling it a "wonderful thing," especially since the cost of living in California is among highest in the country. The new minimum wage will surpass Washington state, which currently has the top minimum wage in the U.S. at $9.19 an hour, though it's also set to increase there. Of course, hiking the minimum wage doesn't come without critics, who say raising it is unfriendly to business, and that employers will have to cut hours and hire fewer workers to cover the cost of the increase. They say that's not something California can afford right now, where the jobless rate is currently 8.9%. The new law follows a wave of protests across the country by Wal-Mart and fast food workers who have been demanding to be paid more and be given the chance to unionize.
Copyright 2013 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.