California could become the first state to approve a $15 minimum wage.
Lawmakers, Gov. Jerry Brown and labor unions struck a deal over the weekend to raise the statewide minimum wage from $10 per hour to $15 in 2022, according to a source familiar with the talks.
The governor's office couldn't confirm the deal, and legislators who had pushed the measure were not available for comment.
Under the terms of the deal, incremental increases would start on Jan. 1, 2017 with a 50 cent boost to $10.50 per hour, followed by another 50 cent raise in 2018 and three annual $1 increases.
Businesses with 25 or fewer employees would have an extra year to comply with each hike. Future minimum wage increases would be linked to inflation.
As a part of the deal, companies also will eventually be required to grant workers three paid sick days a year.
California residents were set to vote in November on a plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 over the next few years. But if the state legislature enacts a law reflecting the new deal, the unions will pull that ballot measure.
Los Angeles County has already agreed to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020, making it the largest city in the nation to do so. San Francisco plans to reach a $15 minimum by 2018. And other major California cities, including San Diego and Oakland, have raised their minimum wages as well.
The statewide agreement marks a turning point in the negotiations between unions such as SEIU -- which represents more than 700,000 workers in the state -- and state lawmakers who worry about the impact on small businesses. But with a ballot measure already approved for the fall, and polls showing the measure likely to win, opponents agreed to a deal that would give them more control over how to phase in the increase.
New York lawmakers are also considering raising that state's minimum wage to $15 an hour. New York state already requires large food franchises to pay at least $15 per hour.
California's current statewide minimum wage of $10 per hour is already among the highest in the country. It's tied with Massachusetts and is second only to Washington D.C., which has a $10.50 minimum, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.