Employees working in the City of San Diego are entitled to a new minimum wage.

On July 11, 2016, the San Diego City Council certified the Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance. As a result, employers must now pay a minimum wage of $10.50 an hour to employees working more than two hours a week within the geographic boundaries of the City. Voters approved the Ordinance in June. The minimum wage will increase again to $11.50 an hour on January 1, 2017. Beginning on January 1, 2019, the minimum wage will increase annually to account for inflation.

In addition to the minimum wage requirements, the Ordinance provides that all employees – regardless of wage – must receive a minimum of five days of Earned Sick Leave to be provided either upfront, or accrued at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours worked.

Employers may limit an employee’s use of earned sick leave to 40 hours per year, but employers must allow employees to continue to accrue earned sick leave. Unused earned sick leave must be carried over to the following year. 

The City Council is still considering an Implementation Ordinance, which, among other things, would establish an Enforcement Office and Enforcement Official to handle complaints and orders of relief for violations. Civil penalties could range from $500 to $1000 per first violation, with penalties increasing for subsequent violations – though the Implementation Ordinance would institute a civil penalty cap for employers with no previous violations. The Implementation Ordinance would also currently place a cap on the accrual of total earned sick leave at 80 hours. 

This post is not meant to encompass all the requirements of the Ordinance and there are other mandates that could affect certain businesses differently. If you have any questions about the new minimum wage or sick leave laws in the City of San Diego, don't hesitate to contact us.