Councilman Todd Gloria Discusses San Diego's Minimum Wage Hike
Our top story , now that San Diego voters have approved a minimum wage increase, the city Council is trying to hammer out how to enforce it. Wages for workers in San Diego will go from $10 Wages for workers in San Diego will go from $10-$10 $.50 an hour beginning July 11. A proposal to ensure employees -- employers comply moved from committee today, to the city attorney's office. Joining me is City Councilman, Todd Gloria. Are you proposing the city. -- Create a new Bureau our division to enforce the new minimum wage law? We are getting this responsibility to our existing Laurence Leamer office -- treasury office. For your listeners, their existing relationship is normally through the city treasurer's office. This will be a complement to the existing relationship and we are working to fund additional workload and a outreach component so that everyone is aware of their rights and responsibilities. Just to be clear, this is a new thing, the city hasn't been enforcing a minimum wage before on businesses in San Diego. Nope. The ordinance is specific to San Diego. We do have experience with our living wage ordinance with -- which has been in effect for over 10 years. It's similar, on a smaller scale. We are hoping to rely on past experiences to make sure workers are employed -- paid what they are owed. Some experience in last decade should help us do and efficient job with the new minimum wage ordinance. How much will this cost the city? The city Council set aside an RFID 2017 budget to do that. Based on data and outreach from other areas. It's our best guess, at the moment. It could go up or down depending on the amount of complaints received. It's my personal belief, and proven by testimony today, the employers want to comply. They want to understand the rules of road and do the right thing. There is always a small group that will do that. We have to have some ability to enforce that workers are paid what they are owed. That mirrors our experience from the last 10 years. That's how we came to the $400,000 figure. Will the city rely on employees reporting that their wages haven't been raised or would you like to see the city take a more proactive approach? It really is both, the reason is our measure that was approved by 63% of voters, just two weeks ago, impacts a lot of people. Most of this will be complaint-based, we have to have some level of Pro at 50, -- productivity, so folks know there is a possibility for being contacted. We want to focus this in the sectors for which we know there is a greater amount of wage theft. Wage theft is not a problem, because of this ordinance, it's a problem throughout our state and what we want to do is have a level of deterrence. Interestingly, we had a couple of business owner show up today, arguing for that. They are concerned that they will be the good guys that comply, while their competitor down the street is the one that's cheating. I'm speaking the San Diego City Councilman, Todd Doria. When it comes to businesses that may want to cheat, what sort of penalties will they face? We are looking at, operating with the belief that most folks are making honest mistakes. It's a graduated, enforcement effort. Once people are well aware of their responsibilities, they willfully and purposely evaded, we are contemplating a fine structure. Terminating their business license, that would be in the most extreme case. We know people will comply, there will be honest mistakes, for those who purposely evade this, there has to be some repercussions. The committee spent some time talking about this, when it comes to retaliation against workers. We're going to have a complaint driven model, workers have to have some idea that they will be protected if they come forward. The ordinance does allow for some anonymity for those who want to complaint and harsh penalties for those who are found to retaliate. For workers in the city, with a problem, they are going to have to the aware, that the minimum wage actually has been increased. Do you think the sense that there are people who are still unaware of this? Absolutely. A lot of folks understand this is a personal passion of mine, I've championed this for two years, now that we crossed the finish line, folks don't understand if that applies to them or how it will be implemented. This was adopted on July 11, it will be to have a robust public outreach effort with clear noticing policies in multiple languages, so workers will be well aware of their rights. Therefore, more likely to report noncompliance. I've been speaking with Todd Gloria, thank you very much.
The city of San Diego is working on how to implement and enforce its new earned sick leave and minimum wage ordinance.
In the June 7 election, voters approved Proposition I to raise the minimum wage.
Wages will tentatively increase from $10 to $10.50 an hour on July 11, the same day the city is scheduled to certify election results.
Proposition I also provides workers five paid sick days per year.
The ordinance calls for the creation of an enforcement office that would take complaints and investigate violations. Employers could be fined up to $1,000 per violation.
San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria, who led the effort to raise the minimum wage, discusses how the city plans to make sure employers comply with the wage increase on KPBS Midday Edition Wednesday.