After more than a year, a proposal to give a minimum wage bump to homecare workers and nonprofit employees was approved Tuesday in a deal reached between Mayor London Breed and the Board of Supervisors.
Under the deal, approved unanimously by the board, the minimum wage for workers of nonprofits under contract with The City will increase by $1.50 to $16.50 on July 1, 2019. The minimum wage for home health care workers will increase in phases, reaching $18.75 on July 1, 2022. Homecare workers will see the first pay hike on February 1, 2019 — a raise of $1.
Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer proposed the minimum wage hike along with Supervisor Hillary Ronen, picking up a proposal previously introduced by Supervisor Jane Kim and former Supervisor Jeff Sheehy more than a year ago after it stalled.
“Over 20,000 home healthcare workers bathe, feed, clothe and generally care for our elders and disabled residents. The City also depends on thousands of low wage workers to care for our youth, staff our homeless shelters and provide safety net services,” Fewer said. “All of these workers are on the edge of poverty, most earning only $15 an hour.”
The low pay, she said, puts these workers on the edge of homelessness and makes it difficult to retain and recruit employees.
Both praised Breed for the agreement. One concession was to reduce the $2 raise on Feb. 1 that was in the initial proposal and eliminate a consumer price index increase in perpetuity.
Board President Malia Cohen said the proposal will cost The City more than $100 million over the next five years.
“That may mean that this body may feel a tighter squeeze when it comes to our own board priorities … but this is the right thing to do,” Cohen said. “We are trying to make the city more fair, we are trying to make the city equitable.”
Both Fewer and Ronen acknowledged the raise fell short of a livable wage, but said it was moving in the right direction.
Fewer said the minimum wage hike “will by no means give these thousands of workers a livable wage. Even at $18.75 an hour, they will only be making $39,000 annually.” But she said she was “grateful that we’ll be able to offer some relief to these workers.”
The pay hike falls under The City’s so-called minimum compensation ordinance. Leaders from the San Francisco Labor Council, including executive director Rudy Gonzalez, SEIU 2015 and SEIU 1021, had called for the increase.
Breed praised in a statement the collaboration with the board and called it a “much needed wage increase.”
“These individuals serve many of our most vulnerable – our senior and disabled populations – and ensure critical support services continue to be available for our residents,” Breed said. “It is important that they receive a fair wage so they can continue to do this essential work and remain a part of our communities.”