Redwood City – 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.
The County’s minimum wage ordinance requires employers to post a notification of employee rights. A sample notification suitable for printing, in English, Spanish and simplified Chinese, can be found at www.smcgov.org/minwage.
The Board of Supervisors in November 2022 approved setting the minimum wage at $16.50 to put more money into the pockets of fast-food employees, agricultural laborers and other typically low-wage workers.
This new minimum wage is $1 per hour higher than the state’s minimum wage, which increased on Jan. 1, 2023.
“The Board is proud to take a stand for the workers who are the backbone of our community,” said Dave Pine, president of the Board of Supervisors. “Many of these workers were deemed essential during COVID, and it’s absolutely critical that we do what we can for them.”
The County’s minimum wage applies to workers regardless of immigration status across a wide geographic region. This includes North Fair Oaks, home to the bustling Middlefield Road corridor, agricultural land stretching from south of Pacifica to Pescadero, Broadmoor Village in the North County and other unincorporated pockets.
The County’s Executive Office is working to ensure that both employees and employers are aware of the new minimum wage.
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.
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.
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