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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

San Leandro's push for $15 minimum wage will cost city $460,000 through 2020

SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL | San Leandro's push to accelerate its path to a $15 an hour minimum wage quicker than the state's mandate is also going to give a boost to its own city employees.

The San Leandro City Council will discuss a proposal to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 on Tuesday night. The state minimum wage was recently increased by Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this year to incrementally reach $15 by 2022.

San Leandro's plan, first proposed by Councilmember Jim Prola, will get there quicker starting with an increase to $12 in July 2017 and an additional $1 a year through 2020.

At a council meeting two weeks ago, council support for the plan was apparent. A specific ordinance will be debated Tuesday night.

Raising the minimum wage in San Leandro will not only help low wage-earners across the city, but within its city government, according to a staff report.

Within the lower levels of city government, a number of part-time and non-permanent employees at the Recreation and Human Services Department and Library Department currently earn less than the proposed wage increase, said staff.

In addition, salary compaction derived from lower level employees potential attaining higher hourly wages than their superiors could result in another 130 employees also receiving bumps in pay.

The cost to the city is estimated to be $460,000 through Fiscal Year 2020-21, wrote staff, including $100,000 next year and $120,000 over the next three years.

The proposed ordinance also clarifies how the minimum wage increase will be enforced. At least from the start, the city proposes it rely on a self-reporting model. Other cities, like Berkeley and Emeryville employ a full-time or part-time employee to the task.

In addition, no differentiation will be made between the sizes of San Leandro businesses under the the minimum wage plan. Proposals in other cities often include a split between large and small businesses with the latter typically given an extra year to comply with the higher wage.

Businesses in San Leandro found to have violated the proposed minimum wage would be required to pay back wages along with a $25 a day penalty to each employee effected.

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