The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors is considering adoption of an ordinance that would raise the minimum wage in unincorporated areas of the County. 

At a recent study session before the Board of Supervisors, staff received direction to prepare for the Board’s consideration an ordinance that would include a requirement for businesses operating in unincorporated areas to pay a minimum wage of $16.50 per hour, starting on April 1, 2023. 

The proposed ordinance would also provide that, every year thereafter, the minimum wage for all businesses would be increased at a rate based on the increase in the United States Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (U.S. CPI-W) or by 3.5 percent, whichever is less.

Opportunity to Provide Feedback

Members of the public are invited to provide input and comment on this proposal at the November 15th, 2022, meeting of the Board of Supervisors.

Instructions for providing feedback and to access related agenda documents can be found here.

The agenda for this Board meeting will be publicly available no later than November 11, 2022.


Staff anticipated that an ordinance to raise the minimum wage in the unincorporated area will be introduced at the meeting of the Board of Supervisors on November 15, 2022.  If the Board of Supervisors votes to introduce the ordinance, staff anticipates that it would be adopted at the Board meeting on December 6, 2022.

Current Minimum Wage in Unincorporated San Mateo County

The State minimum wage, which applies now to unincorporated San Mateo County, was established by the State Legislature with the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 3 (Leno) in 2016, phasing in annual increases beginning in 2017 to increase the state minimum wage from $10 per hour to $15 per hour. The final increase for businesses with 25 or less employees is scheduled to be implemented on January  1, 2023, setting the minimum wage at $15 per hour with larger businesses already paying that rate currently. This is the last scheduled increased prescribed in SB 3. 

However, SB 3 also included an escalator provision that requires that on or before August 1 of each year, the California State Director of Finance determines if the minimum wage shall be adjusted for inflation and calculates the increase in minimum wage by the lesser of 3.5 percent or the rate of change, as specified, for the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics non-seasonally adjusted U.S. CPI-W.

On July 27, 2022, the Director of the California Department of Finance certified that based on the annual inflation rate from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022, under Labor Code section 1182.12(c)(3)(A), the State hourly minimum wage must be increased, effective Jan. 1, 2023 to $15.50 per hour (regardless of the number of workers employed by an employer). 

Why Consider Raising the Minimum Wage?

The majority of cities in San Mateo County, making up over 70% of the County’s population, have already raised the minimum wage within their borders at a rate higher than the State's. The average minimum wage within the cities that have instituted their own ordinances is just over $16.50 per hour starting in 2023. Raising the minimum wage in the unincorporated areas could create more consistency across jurisdictions.