Students react to minimum wage increase in California


Hannah Young

“It’s great that they’re increasing minimum wage. Like I said, it really adds up,” said James Pak, a student employee at Ya-Ua.

Hannah Young, Staff Writer

The increase in minimum wage in California has affected the working students at Carlmont.

This past summer, California voted to increase minimum wage from $8 per hour to $9 per hour. However, living costs are also increasing simultaneously. Gasoline prices are nearly $4 now, a huge concern for student drivers.

“I drive, and I pay for all of it. I pay for my car insurance, and yeah it’s a lot. I still manage though,” said senior James Pak.

Pak also works 20 hours a week at local frozen yogurt and bubble tea shop, Ya-Ua. Having worked before the minimum wage increase, Pak notices the difference.

“The increase definitely affected me, because since I work a lot of hours, they add up,” said Pak.

However, not all students feel that the minimum wage increase affected them. Some employers who already paid their workers above the old minimum wage did not catalyze a significant difference in the new paychecks.

“It really didn’t change much for me, I mean it’s only 50 cents. I’m really happy with Pump it Up, definitely,” said junior Camron Dennler.

California minimum wages will be rising in the years to come. By March 2015, minimum wage is expected to be $10 per hour, and by March 2016 $12 per hour. However, the increase in minimum wages may not be able to keep up with the rising standard of living in the Bay Area.

“We need to keep in mind that living in the Bay Area means it’s one of the most expensive areas, and that our minimum wages are really low compared to states like Washington,” said Pak.

California’s minimum wages are on the higher end of the scale, with the federal minimum wage being $7.25, according to California is an expensive state to live in. The minimum wage of 1 hour is not even enough for an $11.50 adult movie ticket in California; however ticket prices are under $9 in more rural parts of America.

Working while in high school is considered an important teenage experience that builds responsibility. It gives students an opportunity to explore future career options and learn cooperative working skills.

“I think the increase in minimum wage will be an incentive for more teens to work. A lot of teens don’t think it’s worth it to work because they don’t think the low pay is worth the effort,” said Pak.