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Local businesses feel impact of minimum wage increase

Minimum Wage. Photo credit: Pixabay

Starting this year, businesses across the state of California are required to increase their minimum wages.

Businesses with 26 employees or more must pay their employees a minimum wage of $12 per hour, up from the previous minimum wage of $11 at that level.

Those with 25 employees or fewer must pay their employees a minimum wage of $11 per hour, up from $10.50.

While the increase may be reasonable for larger cities, here in Kern County the new law is affecting local businesses in different ways.

The Wonderful Company announced last year it would increase its minimum wage to $15 per hour, getting ahead of the goal the state is setting for the next four years.

A representative for The Wonderful Company, which employs 4500 people in California, said more than 2000 of its fulltime employees who will benefit from the increased minimum wage live in Kern County.

Meanwhile, small business owners like Jamal Abed, co-owner of Dos Tacos, said he’s having a harder time adjusting his payroll to the new minimum wage.

“When the minimum goes up, you know, other places on up and the more established companies out there that are paying a little more than we’re paying tend to increase their wages,” he said. “So, it makes us have to increase our wage too.”

Abed said trying to stay competitive with a small business is a challenge.

“Yeah, it’s a lot harder because we got to watch our numbers, every penny counts, so small businesses, it does affect us really bad,” Abed said.

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