The Labor Center’s research on labor standards focuses on minimum wage and living wage policies, and their effects on employment, workers, firms, and the public.
Research & Publications
Across the country, cities and counties have become laboratories of policy innovation on labor standards. Before 2012, only five localities had minimum wage laws; currently, 56 counties and cities do. To help inform policymakers and other stakeholders, the UC Berkeley Labor Center is maintaining an up-to-date inventory of these laws, with details on wage levels, scheduled increases, and other law details, as well as links to the ordinances.
Passage of AB 2257 has caused only minor changes in coverage of the ABC test under AB 5.
Despite being applauded for their essential role and dedication during the COVID pandemic, many low-wage health care workers struggle to make ends meet. A recent UC Berkeley Labor Center Study study looks at what a proposal before the California State Legislature to raise the health care minimum wage to $25 an hour would mean for workers, patients, and industry.
This report shows that the proposed California Senate Bill No. 525 (SB 525), which would establish a new $25 per hour minimum wage for health care employees, has the potential to substantially improve conditions for low-wage health care workers that provide essential services to the state, ameliorate staffing shortages in the industry, and improve quality of care.
RELEASE: Proposed health care minimum wage increase: What it would mean for workers, patients, and industry
A new Labor Center report looks at the impacts of a proposal to raise the health care minimum wage in California to $25 an hour.
UPDATED MARCH 1, 2023. Compilation of living wage and self-sufficiency calculators that provide data on California.
Our minimum wage and living wage tools and resources includes our Inventory of US City and County Minimum Wage Ordinances and a table of current local minimum wages in California.
Table showing California city and county minimum wage rates through December 2022.
$18 Minimum Wage in California: Who would be affected by the proposal to raise California’s minimum wage?
The Living Wage Act is a proposed ballot measure to increase the California minimum wage to $18 an hour by 2025. This report examines which workers stand to benefit from the proposed increase.
RELEASE: $18 Minimum Wage in California: Who would be affected by the proposal to raise California’s minimum wage?
New research finds that an $18 minimum wage would give five million California workers a pay raise; the ballot initiative would help lift 3.5 million Californians out of poverty.
Failure to Deliver: Assessing Amazon’s Freedom of Association Policy under International Labor Standards
Amazon recently announced a new policy on freedom of association under international standards, saying it would comply with International Labor Organization and United Nations principles on union organizing and collective bargaining. This assessment shows that Amazon’s freedom of association policy, on its face, is non-compliant with international labor standards, and Amazon management’s conduct before and after issuing the policy continues to violate international standards.
RELEASE: Failure to Deliver: Assessing Amazon’s Freedom of Association Policy under International Labor Standards
Amazon’s just-announced “freedom of association policy” fails to comply with international human rights standards for workers involved in union organizing, finds a report published today by the UC Berkeley Labor Center and Berkeley Law’s Center for Law and Work.
A list of California city and county ordinances, proclamations, mayoral directives, and orders that expand labor standards for workers affected by the pandemic, such as paid sick leave, health care, worker retention/right of return, and policies that lift workers’ voices in firm, industry, and government responses to the pandemic.
Prop 22 carves out an exception from state labor law for app-based transportation and delivery gig companies, including Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart, allowing the companies to continue to classify their workers as independent contractors rather than employees. Labor Center chair Ken Jacobs and economics professor Michael Reich have produced several papers that examine the implications of Prop 22 compared to employee status for drivers, consumers, taxpayers, and the companies.
Massachusetts Uber/Lyft Ballot Proposition Would Create Subminimum Wage: Drivers Could Earn as Little as $4.82 an Hour
Uber and Lyft, along with a group of delivery network companies, have filed a ballot proposition in Massachusetts to create a separate set of labor standards for their drivers. After considering multiple loopholes, we find that the majority of Massachusetts drivers could earn as little as the equivalent of a $4.82 wage, while the minority of drivers who qualify for a health care stipend could earn the equivalent of just $6.75 per hour.
RELEASE: Massachusetts Uber/Lyft Ballot Proposition Would Create Subminimum Wage: Drivers Could Earn as Little as $4.82 an Hour
A new UC Berkeley analysis finds that a Massachusetts measure proposed by Uber, Lyft, and several delivery network companies would create a subminimum wage of as little as $4.82 an hour.
Low wages and exploitative practices in the resident construction industry cause profound hardship for workers and their families. It also costs the public. This analysis finds almost half of families of construction workers in California are enrolled in a safety net program at an annual cost of over $3 billion. By comparison, just over a third of all California workers have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net program.
The study, by Ken Jacobs and Kuochih Huang of the UC Berkeley Labor Center, finds that almost half of the families of construction workers in California are enrolled in a safety net program at an annual cost of over $3 billion in public funds. By comparison, just over a third of all California workers have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs.
The ultimate impact AB 257 will have on the state budget will depend on to-be-made decisions by the council. But even with a small increase in fast-food workers’ wages resulting from the bill, the net fiscal effect is likely to be positive for the state.