LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Minimum wage University of California workers will be raised to $15 an hour over the next three years, UC officials announced Wednesday.

“This is the right thing to do — for our workers and their families, for our mission and values, to enhance UC’s leadership role by becoming the first public university in the United States to voluntarily establish a minimum wage of $15,” UC President Janet Napolitano said.

Under the plan unveiled at the UC Board of Regents meeting, wages for direct and contract employees will increase to $13 an hour on Oct. 1, then to $14 an hour on Oct. 1, 2016 and $15 on Oct. 1, 2017.

The state’s current minimum wage is $9, and will increase to $10 an hour on Jan. 1.

The UC system – which includes UCLA, UC Irvine and UC Riverside – is the state’s third-largest employer, with about 195,000 employees at its 10 campuses, five medical centers, three national labs, the Office of the President, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and other locations.

As part of the wage-hike plan, UC also plans to expand its monitoring to ensure employees of contract companies are being paid the proper wages.

The announcement comes just hours before Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to appear in North Hollywood with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to call for an increase in the national minimum wage. The city of Los Angeles has already approved an incremental wage increase to $15 an hour by 2020, and Los Angeles County took a similar vote Tuesday.

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