With respect to minimum wage, the elections on November 4, 2014 changed more than Congressional power in D.C. As the debate rolls on regarding the federal minimum wage rate, San Francisco and Oakland voted to increase their local minimum wage rates during the recent midterm elections. In doing so, San Francisco became the second U.S. city to raise its minimum wage to $15.00 per hour, while Oakland raised its minimum wage to $12.25 per hour.
San Francisco's new minimum wage increases from $10.74 per hour to $12.25 per hour, effective May 2015. The minimum wage rate will then increase every year until the rate reaches $15.00 per hour in July 2018. 77% of voters approved the ballot measure, which applies to all employees in the city, except youths under 18 in government-subsidized training programs and people over 55 at some government-subsidized nonprofits.
Oakland's new minimum wage increases from $9.00 per hour to $12.25 per hour, effective March 2015. Following, March 2015, future minimum wage rate increases will be tied to cost-of-living calculations–similar to the method to be used in San Francisco. 82% of voters approved Oakland's ballot measure, which also includes requirements for employers to offer a minimum of at least five days of sick leave to all employees. Oakland employees will now accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work.
Labor Code Violations
California's Labor Code sets forth damages and penalties to which employees are entitled for minimum wage violations. San Francisco employers should be aware of additional consequences for violations as a result of the most recent ballot measure. Failure to comply with the new minimum wage requirements in San Francisco could result in the payment of back wages “unlawfully withheld,” as well as the payment of penalties in the amount of $50 to each employee for each day of the violation, reinstatement in employment, and/or injunctive relief, reasonable attorneys' fees and costs, and interest.
Kingsley & Kingsley
We at Kingsley & Kingsley as in past minimum wage increases expect numerous employers to fail to raise their commissioned and salaried employees as required to be exempt from overtime. This will subject employers to significant overtime exposure that over time can translate into thousands of dollars for each employee who is paid incorrectly. This is an area of the law Kingsley & Kingsley monitors carefully and continues to provide assistance to employers and employees with concerns about local, state and federal wage and hour requirements. To discuss this topic in further detail please feel free to contact leading California employment lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley located in Encino, CA. Call toll-free at (888) 500-8469 or click here to contact us.