San Diego Minimum Wage Increase Takes Effect Monday
I Maureen Cavanaugh. It is Monday, July 11. Our top story on KPBS Midday Edition to boost in the city's minimum wage by -- approved by voters last week. It raises the minimum to $10.50 an hour. The minimum wage gets another boost to $11.50 in January next year. To enemy to discuss the potential impact of this increase is Clare Crawford, executive director of the Center on policy initiatives, one of the major advocates of the minimum wage boost. Welcome to the program. Now that the higher minimum wage is going into effect, that how many San Diego's will be affected by it? Immediately it will be about 150,000 workers at least. Next year it will be upwards of 150,000 San Diego ins. How much will it at two take-home pay? This year issue that to $86 a month. Once a wage goes up to $11.50 in January of next year, that would add around 200 XT dollars a month. It also adds five earned six days. We have to call in sick or when a family member is sick you don't lose as wages. How do you see that boosting the overall San Diego economy? You will have more local San Diegans with dollars in their pocket. Workers are also consumers. Businesses will have more customers with more available cash in their pockets to spend. The lowest wage in the lowest income members of the economy are the ones that end up spending the most of their available income because they need to. What about wages that are close to the minimum wage? Do you expect to see a boost in those hourly wages as well? Usually do see some. There is no legal requirement for that to happen but often employers will boost the people little bit above the minimum wage or a couple dollars above -- will boost the map to. Many businesses opposed to the increase. It says it will force businesses to cut back on employees. Are you concerned about that happening? This is an issue that is raised every time everywhere that a minimum wage increase is considered. The data does not way that out. They never actually materialize when you look at the data. I think that is why not only to 63% of San Diego voters support this measure but a lot of business people and a lot of small businesses support and. San Diego city Council is putting on how the higher minimum wage will be in force. What are the concerns about businesses complying with the new law? I think there is a few basic ones. One major concern I think that everybody has and we heard about the committee hearing where we had businesses that were there to support strong enforcement of the ordinance. Part of that is making sure there is a really solid education campaign for employers and employees. There are tons of businesses in the community that want to complain do the right thing. It is important for the city to make sure that they have the information that they need to be able to do so. One concern that we have is we are happy that the city has actually budgeted for enforcement. There is $400,000 in the current budget. We would really like to see that higher. Between doing a solid job and doing the level of education needed, the city could use a higher budget allocation for that. The other thing that we see that is really important, the city has the ability to do proactive enforcement. One of the reasons it is so important is that retaliation is a major issue for employees. When an employee goes and filed a complaint the employer hears about it. Many people fear loss of hours, loss of their employment and there is a real incentive to take that step in and report that their employer is violating the law. The city being able to do that proactive enforcement when they hear that there are violations going on we think is really critical. An important parcel of that is very strong repercussions for employers that retaliate against their employees for reporting. The final thing I would say that we think is really important is making sure that the information about the law is available to employers and employees in multiple languages. We have a diverse workforce in San Diego. We want to make sure the employees in a place have access to the information they need in the language they are most comfortable understanding. When the city Council debated this concept, there was an argument within the Council about a pro active versus a complaint driven approach to enforcement. Which concept won that debate? The debate is not over. I think there will be more discussion about it today. There is one question, what gets written into the actual enforcement ordinance today? Making sure that the ability to do proactive enforcement is within the scope of what the city is able to do based on the language of the ordinance is important. I believe there is good language to allow the city to do that. Part two of that is the Mayor is actually who is charged with executing and the law around enforcements. The second question is do the Mayor and his statues to and have enough resources to do proactive enforcement. There is also being force meant of the minimum wage hike. It is also linked to wage theft which is very difficult to monitor and it is also really difficult for employees to come forth and complain about it. You see them as two of the same thing? Yes. Their absolute this same thing. Of players who are not complying with this law is committing wage theft. This is one of the reasons why in terms of when you think about how the Mayor and his staff set up their local enforcement mechanism of the city, it is really important. We actually her testimony from workers at the hearing. It is important they make that office and that process something that it is easy and accessible. Retaliation is a big risk anyone make sure that when workers actually step or to take that risk that they actually feel like their complaints will be dealt with in a fair way. If the minimum wage boost work to accomplish what you hope they will, what kind of changes might we see? That is a great question. Every but he knows it is incredibly expensive to live in San Diego. If you are making the current minimum wage at $10 an hour, that is $1500 a month in take-home pay. The average one-bedroom in San Diego is a little bit over $1100. If you think about impracticable terms of being able to pay for fans and -- pay for food in utility bills, it allows a mother or father to buy healthier food for themselves and their children. NOLS better access to healthcare to pay for the medicine that they need. So all across the board you see a real improvement in the life of low income workers. Events begin with Clare Crawford Executive Director of the Center on policy initiatives. One of the major advocates of the minimum wage boost. Thank you.
Beginning Monday, San Diego's minimum wage workers will earn $10.50 an hour — an increase of 50 cents. As part of Proposition I, which San Diego voters overwhelmingly approved in June, the city's minimum wage will get another boost to $11.50 in January.
City officials have been scrambling since the measure passed to figure out how to let employers know about the increase and how to make sure they pay it. The City Council is expected to approve an enforcement plan Monday afternoon.
Many business groups opposed to the measure have said this increase in addition to a state increase, which will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, will force businesses to cut staff.
Clare Crawford, executive director of the Center on Policy Initiatives, a San Diego nonprofit that backed the minimum wage boost, discusses the increase on KPBS Midday Edition on Monday.
San Diego's Minimum Wage Increase Compared To California's