San Diego City Council Approves Minimum Wage Hike

The San Diego City Council opted to bypass voters Monday and directly approve a phased-in increase of the city’s minimum wage. In doing so, the council abandoned a previous plan by Council President Todd Gloria to put the issue before voters on the November ballot. 

Under the new ordinance, San Diego’s minimum wage will increase from $9 to $9.75 on January 1 of 2015. It will rise again to $10.50 in January of 2016 and to $11.50 in January of 2017. As of January 2019, it will be indexed to inflation.

In addition to the minimum wage hike, employers will now be required to offer five earned sick days per year. The sick-day requirement is aimed at reducing the spread of contagious illnesses among employees.

Monday’s vote was 6-3 with council members Lori Zapf, Mark Kersey, and Scott Sherman dissenting.

Todd Gloria called the increase a major step towards a stronger workforce and economy in San Diego. But the council’s decision was immediately criticized by business owners and advocates.

"We are already seeing and hearing from our members that have businesses that are raising prices and cutting jobs in response to the current increase in the (state) minimum wage," said Chanelle Hawken of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. She cited a recent survey of chamber members which showed that 14 percent were already considering leaving the city. According to the survey, concerns over a minimum wage increase trumped concerns over healthcare expenses.

California’s hourly minimum wage increased from $8 to $9 as of July 1. It will rise to $10 in January of 2016

Read more about Monday’s vote by the San Diego City Council here.