SF’s minimum wage rising based on inflation

Beginning Wednesday, the minimum wage paid by employers in San Francisco will be higher based on adjustments for inflation.

The City’s minimum wage has steadily risen since 2003 — based on consumer price index increases — and will reach $10.74 an hour as of New Year’s Day, said Donna Levitt, manager of San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement. In comparison, San Jose’s minimum wage will increase to $10.15 under a law passed by voters a year ago, according to city spokesman David Vossbrink.

San Francisco’s wage law started in 2004 at $8.50 an hour, up from California’s then $6.75 statewide hourly wage rate, Levitt said.

According to the state Department of Industrial Relations website, California’s minimum wage of $8 an hour is set to climb to $9 on July 1, 2014, and $10 on Jan. 1, 2016.

The federal minimum wage, which debuted at 25 cents an hour in 1938, is currently $7.25 and was last increased from $6.55 an hour on July 24, 2009, according to the Department of Labor.

San Francisco recently released its first annual report on its minimum wage and how employers have been meeting its requirements, Levitt said.

From July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013, The City recovered $1.4 million in back wages and interest from employers who violated the ordinance, 32 percent more than in the previous year, according to Levitt.

The year’s most significant case was a resolution with Dick Lee Pastry, a Chinatown restaurant that agreed to pay $525,000 in back wages, interest and penalties after paying its workers only $4 per hour, Levitt said.

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