The minimum wage in San Mateo County is set to jump to $16.50 an hour this spring.
“The pandemic pointedly demonstrated that we have workers who are considered essential across a variety of industries but who must choose between food, shelter and other needs just to make ends meet,” said Don Horsley, president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.
In an unanimous vote, the board approved increasing the minimum wage to $16.50 an hour beginning April 1, 2023.
The increase will take effect in the unincorporated county, including North Fair Oaks and Middlefield Road business corridor, as well as the agricultural land that stretches from Pacifica to Pescadero.
“One section of our workforce is vital but often invisible, that is the farm workers who help to put food on our tables. While some farm workers earn more than the minimum wage, this increase will ensure these essential workers have more money in their pockets each and every week,” Horsley said.
The increase was proposed by Horsely to stimulate the economy and assist families struggling with constant inflation.
In California, the minimum wage for all employers, regardless of size, will increase to $15.50 on Jan. 1, 2023.
The board’s move to increase the minimum wage higher than the state’s base wage is not necessarily unique. Approximately 70% of the cities and counties across the state have increased their wages above the state average.
Board representatives noted that they hear the concerns of small business owners who say the increase will have financial impacts on their operations. However, the board states that “the increase will level the playing field for all businesses.”
The state wage increases every year. As such, San Mateo County's new wage will increase at the same pace as the state minimum wage every Jan. 1.
The federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees is $7.25 an hour. In cases where an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher of the two minimum wages.
“This ordinance will improve the lives of workers and their families,” said board supervisor Dave Pine. “And when we improve the lives of local residents, we improve the stability and vitality of entire communities.”
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