Workers will make at least $16.50 an hour in unincorporated San Mateo County starting April 1, 2023, the first local minimum wage for areas that range from commercial corridors to coastal farmland.
The minimum wage must be paid to employees who work at least two hours a week, with few exceptions. Businesses of all sizes must pay workers at least $16.50 for all time worked within the geographic boundaries of unincorporated San Mateo County.
This new minimum wage is $1 per hour higher than the state’s minimum wage, which increased on Jan. 1, 2023.
The California Labor Commissioner’s Office will ultimately enforce the minimum wage. This avoids establishing a new local enforcement agency while providing consistency across jurisdictions as the Labor Commissioner’s mission is to “ensure a just day's pay in every workplace….” The ordinance also allows for an individual employee to sue his or her employer for not complying.
The new minimum wage applies to so-called gig workers, employees who get paid tips and both adults and minors. Mirroring the state’s minimum wage requirements, there is an exception for “learners” – who may earn 85 percent of the minimum wage for the first 160 hours of employment, then the full $16.50 per hour. Tips are not included in the hourly wage.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, and then annually, the County’s minimum wage will be set based on a formula involving the consumer price index, which tracks the prices of goods and services, and the prior year’s increase.
Minimum Wage: Employer Notices (Posters)
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Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the County of San Mateo Minimum Wage Ordinance and how does this affect my business? The County of San Mateo Board adopted an ordinance to create a minimum wage ordinance for businesses located in unincorporated areas of the San Mateo County. The ordinance was approved on December 6, 2022, and went into effect April 1, 2023.
- What is the Minimum Wage for the unincorporated areas of San Mateo County? Beginning April 1, 2023, employers who maintain a facility in the unincorporated areas of San Mateo County must pay to each employee who performs at least two (2) hours of work per week in unincorporated San Mateo County, minimum wages not less than $16.50 per hour. Tips are not included in the hourly wage.
The minimum wage requirement set forth in the County of San Mateo Minimum Wage Ordinance applies to adult AND minor employees who work two (2) or more hours per week. =The minimum wage will be adjusted annually beginning on January 1, 2024.
- Does the Minimum Wage apply elsewhere within the County of San Mateo? No, the County of San Mateo Minimum Wage ordinance only applies to businesses geographically located in unincorporated areas of the County. However, individual jurisdictions within San Mateo County may have their own wage rules.
- There are several Minimum Wage laws: Federal, State, and County of San Mateo. What is the difference, and which one applies to local businesses? San Mateo County employers are subject to Federal, State, City and County of San Mateo minimum wage laws. When there are conflicts in the laws the employer must follow the strictest standard, meaning that employers must follow the standard that is most favorable to the employee.
- Who Does the County of San Mateo Minimum Wage Ordinance Apply to? The minimum wage requirement set forth in the County of San Mateo Minimum Wage Ordinance applies to adult and minor employees who work two (2) or more hours per week in businesses with a location or locations in unincorporated San Mateo County.
- Does the County of San Mateo Minimum Wage apply to employees who are under the age of 18 and working at businesses located in unincorporated areas? Yes, there is no age requirement for eligibility for the minimum wage.
- Are employees classified as "Learners" paid the minimum wage according to the County of San Mateo Minimum Wage Ordinance? Those who are classified as Learners pursuant to the California Industrial Welfare Commission Order No. 4-2001 may be paid 85% of the Minimum Wage for the Learner’s first 160 hours of work. After that point, the employee must be paid the Minimum Wage as set by the Ordinance.
- Do I have to pay the Minimum Wage, even if the employee is part time? Yes, the minimum wage applies to any employee who performs at least two (2) hours of work in a calendar week within the unincorporated areas of San Mateo County.
- Does the County of San Mateo Minimum Wage ordinance apply to undocumented workers? Yes, all workers in unincorporated areas of San Mateo County, whether or not they are legally authorized to work in the United States must be paid the minimum wage as set forth in the ordinance. Incorporated cities must also abide by the state minimum wage unless their city has also increased their minimum wage. Wage claims will be processed and investigated.