San Francisco, CA Minimum Wage Initiative

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San Francisco, CA, US

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Type: Ballot Initiative

Status: Passed on 11/4/03

Background: San Francisco's precedent-setting minimum wage model

July 2016 - Update: Minimum wage jumps to $13 hour


Proposition L, the Minimum Wage Ordinance was approved by San Francisco voters on November 4, 2003.

The ordinance requires most employers (whether or not the employers receives City contracts) to pay a minimum wage of $8.50 per hour for work performed within San Francisco (minimum wage is currently $6.75 statewide). Each year the City will adjust the amount of the minimum wage based on increases in the regional consumer price index. The minimum wage requirement would apply to employees who work two (2) or more hours per week.

The requirement would not apply to small businesses with fewer than ten (10) persons who perform work for compensation during a given week or nonprofits until January 1, 2005. Starting on that date, those small businesses and nonprofits are required to pay a minimum wage of $7.75 per hour. Then, starting January 1, 2006, all small businesses and nonprofits are required to pay the minimum wage of $8.50 per hour (as adjusted based on increases in the regional consumer price index).

Under the ordinance, employees who assert their right to receive the City's minimum wage are protected from retaliation. Employees may file a lawsuit against their employers for any violation of the ordinance. The City can investigate possible violations and enforce the minimum wage requirements by ordering reinstatement of employees and payment of back wages and penalties.

The Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, Living Wage/Living Health Unit is responsible for implementation and enforcement of the ordinance. A multi-language bulletin/notice that must be posted by employers can be obtained by contacting the Living Wage/Living Health Unit.

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