Budget Committee Requests Draft to Implement Voter-Approved Wage Increase

Photo credit: Alexander Nguyen

The City Council’s Budget Committee Wednesday unanimously requested staff to draft an ordinance to implement the voter-approved increase in San Diego’s minimum wage, and bring it before the full City Council next month.

Proposition I, which included the wage hike and five days of paid sick leave — both above that required by the state — was backed by 63 percent of voters in the June 7 election.

The City Council originally approved the boosts two years ago, but opponents in the business community collected enough petition signatures to force the issue to the ballot.

San Diego’s minimum wage is set to increase to $10.50 an hour. It will go to $11.50 an hour on Jan. 1.

The state’s hourly minimum wage is currently $10, and is set to go up to $10.50 in January.

Committee Chairman Todd Gloria said the implementing ordinance will hopefully include “best practices” from other California cities with higher minimum wages.

“I know a lot of small businesses already pay better than the minimum wage because they understand that’s actually a really good thing to do,” Gloria said.

“We want to make sure it’s a level playing field, that no businesses get a competitive advantage because they’re cheating with their employees,” said the councilman, who led the push to hike the minimum wage. “A lot of that comes from making sure that we’re clear about expectations and repercussions from non-compliance.”

The city’s budget that goes into effect July 1 includes $400,000 to provide education and outreach to local businesses, and add compliance staff to the treasurer’s office. Information about the increase is already on the city’s website.

Gloria said he hopes the implementing ordinance will go to the full City Council on July 11, when the panel is tentatively scheduled to certify the election results, which would allow the pay hike to take effect.

—City News Service