SANTA MONICA, Calif., June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- July 1, 2016 is the first day of Santa Monica's new minimum wage, which will increase the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour, with annual increases ultimately reaching $15 by 2020. The minimum wage for hotel workers will start at $13.25 on July 1, 2016, and will match the Los Angeles hotel wage starting July 1, 2017. This aligns the City with regional and State efforts to raise the minimum wage.
"We value our Santa Monica employees and want to ensure they can afford to live and work in the region. Enhanced affordability and mobility are two key priorities for Santa Monica. It is imperative that these priorities include our workforce and business community," said Mayor Tony Vazquez.
With the new law, thousands of low-wage workers will receive a higher wage and additional sick leave benefits. The new law also makes the use of service charges more transparent to consumers and requires these charges to be distributed exclusively to employees. The City has the authority to enforce the law's provisions.
"This new law demonstrates the city's commitment to improving the health and social welfare of all those working here, while continuing to ensure that Santa Monica is a great place to own and operate a business," said Laurel Rosen, President of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce.
This is one of the most comprehensive minimum wage ordinances in the country. Details of the law include:
- Santa Monica workers will accrue more paid sick leave than required under State law: 40 hours (larger businesses) or 32 hours (smaller businesses), starting January 1, 2017. Employees can use this paid leave consistent with State law.
- Employees will receive 100% of any service charge revenue. Back-of-house workers (e.g. dishwashers, prep chefs) can participate in service charge sharing, and employees will know how their workplaces distribute service charge revenue.
- Healthcare-related service charge revenue distribution will be more transparent and under employee control.
- Consumers will be aware of all service charges, and can be sure this revenue directly reaches employees.
- Employers retain the State-level "learner" option, providing that employees working in an activity for the first time can earn 85% of the minimum wage for the first 160 hours of employment.
- Employees receive protection from retaliation and the right to pursue action against employers for infractions of the minimum wage law.
Edith Garcia, who works in Santa Monica, spoke at a City Council meeting on April 26 about the ordinance's impact and noted that friends and coworkers who have been priced out of the City will be able to move back. "This law will change a lot of my coworkers' lives," she said.
The minimum wage is part of City Council's "Inclusive and Diverse Community" citywide strategic goal.
The minimum wage law is a fundamental tool to make Santa Monica more affordable, more diverse, and more inclusive.
The ordinance was adopted after an extensive community outreach process involving the business community, residents, workers and labor groups. Santa Monica's new minimum wage schedule aligns with those adopted by the city and county of Los Angeles. The state of California also recently adopted a new state minimum wage, which goes into effect in January 2017.
Businesses and workers can learn more about minimum wage law and review legal notices and frequently asked questions at www.smgov.net/minimumwage. Community-based organizations will build on these tools and provide additional outreach and education services through City-awarded grants.
Santa Monica plans to contract with Los Angeles County for enforcement. This strategy supports a regional approach to wage enforcement, and is an effective use of resources.
Employers that have questions about the Minimum Wage Ordinance should contact the City of Santa Monica at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Fact Sheet
- Wage Chart (graphic)
- Legal Notice
- Downloadable tools (English)
- Downloadable tools (Spanish)
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SOURCE City of Santa Monica