Western Growers' Jason Resnick Shares State Minimum Wage Changes to Take Effect January 1, 2018

Wed. December 6th, 2017
- by Jessica Donnel     

IRVINE, CA - For many members of the produce industry, January 1st, 2018 will not only bring cause to celebrate the New Year, but also cause to take a look at the changing minimum wage laws that may affect their businesses. In an effort to educate members of Western Growers, the Association’s Vice President & General Counsel Jason Resnick compiled a list of legislation that will affect employers in California, Arizona, and Colorado starting next month.

Jason Resnick, Vice President & General Councel, Western Growers"With annual minimum wage increases, the erosion of the agricultural overtime exemption [in California], rising healthcare and workers’ compensation costs, and expanding regulatory burdens, many farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with other states and other countries," Resnick tells me. "Farmers are price takers, not price settersthey can’t raise their prices to cover significantly higher employment and regulatory costs."

Below is Resnick's breakdown of how the minimum wage laws will affect Western Growers members in the following states:


In 2016, SB 3 was signed to gradually increase the minimum wage in California to $15 per hour by 2022. Beginning January 1, 2018, employers with 26 or more employees will be required to pay non-overtime-exempt employees $11.00 per hour while businesses with 25 or fewer employees will have to pay their non-exempt employees $10.50 per hour.

The increased minimum wage rate also impacts the salary thresholds for exempt executives, administrators and professionals under California law, increasing it to $45,760 annually for employers with at least 26 employees, and $43,680 for employers with 25 or fewer employees. Employers should also be aware that a number of cities, such as San Francisco, Emeryville, and Oakland have higher minimum wage rates than the state.


Under Proposition 206, the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act, Arizona’s minimum wage will increase to $10.50 per hour on January 1, 2018; $11.00 per hour in 2019; and $12.00 per hour in 2020. In 2021, the Arizona minimum wage will increase each year by the cost of living.


With the passage of Amendment 70, effective January 1, 2017, Colorado's minimum wage had been increased to $9.30 per hour and is increased annually by $0.90 each January 1 until it reaches $12 per hour effective January 2020. Thereafter, it will be adjusted annually for cost of living increases, as measured by the Consumer Price Index used for Colorado. For 2018, the minimum wage in Colorado is $10.20.

New Mexico

The minimum wage in New Mexico remains $7.50 per hour, which is greater than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Some cities and municipalities in New Mexico have established their own minimum wage rates, including:

  • Albuquerque: $8.75
  • Bernalillo County: $8.65
  • Santa Fe: $10.84
  • Santa Fe County: $10.66
  • Las Cruces: currently $9.20 to increase to $10.10 on January 1, 2019

As the country continues to look towards new legislation and regulation regarding wages, AndNowUKnow will continue to report on the shifting agricultural landscape. Until then, visit Western Growers' website to learn even more about all issues in Ag.

Western Growers