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Latest California Ballot Initiative Could Lead to $18 Minimum Wage by 2026 — Could It Ripple Across US?

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Activists in California are saying that an $18 minimum wage across the state could help end the labor shortage across the country, according to Business Insider. But could such a bold move truly boost economic growth on a nationwide scale?

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A new ballot initiative, the Living Wage Act of 2022, would more than double California’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $18 and hour, if passed. It could help roughly 5 million workers whose salaries have not kept pace with inflation and economic growth across the stage. It could give these workers an extra $24 per day, Joe Sandberg told Business Inside. Sandberg is the activist and entrepreneur who filed the proposal. He noted the extra money could help families make rent and provide healthy food for them.

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Other activists like Saru Jayaraman, president of One Fair Wage and director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California – Berkley, agree with Sandberg, noting that the country is facing a “wage shortage,” rather than a “labor shortage” right now. “The real solution to getting these workers to come back to work, and having the restaurant industry we had prior to the pandemic, is going to be getting people a permanent wage increase,” Jayaraman told Business Insider.

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However, change won’t be immediate. The initiative needs one million signatures before it can even get on the ballot for a vote in November 2022. Then, the wage increase will phase in until it reaches $18 in 2026. Future increases will keep pace with inflation.

Under current legislation, California will raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 for every size company by 2023.

Learn: Minimum Wage Will Increase to $15 for Federal Workers in 2022 — How Worker Retention Could Improve
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Sandberg told Business Insider that a California minimum wage hike could “create a positive ripple effect throughout the country.”

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