San Diego City Council Prepares For Minimum Wage Hike Implementation

Minimum wage will go up to $10.50 an hour by June 11th and $11.50 an hour by January 1, 2017.

The minimum wage for workers at small businesses in the City of San Diego will go up by half a dollar in a few weeks.

Now, the San Diego City Council Budget Committee is focusing on educating small business owners and employees about the change coming up on July 11.

San Diegans voted by 63 percent for Proposition I during the June 7 primary, approving minimum to go up to $10.50 per hour by June 11. By January 1, 2017, the minimum wage will increase to $11.50 an hour in San Diego, making it higher than California’s minimum wage requirement.

The ordinance will also require employers to give workers a minimum of five paid sick days a year.

NBC 7 spoke with Councilman Todd Gloria on Wednesday, who authored the legislation. He said the City is working with community based organizations to let local businesses know that those who evade the law could face fines or even have their business license suspended.

"If it is identified that an employee was short-changed, the City would work with the employer to recoup those lost and back wages. If it's identified that the employee not only short-changed the worker, but retaliated against the worker, there would be additional fines associated with that," Gloria said. 

But he said their goal is to also educate business owners about their rights.

San Diego’s Office of the City Treasury will enforce these rules.

But the minimum wage hike is getting mixed reaction from some local small business owners.

Co-owner of Yog-Art, Hannah Pham said the wage hike will drive up prices for services.

"We understand why it's happening but the customer will probably not be happy with the rising cost. We will have to raise our prices and things like that," she said.

Pham says that the price for supplies they purchase will also go up and they will have to cut costs internally.

Another business owner says she is happy to pay her workers a higher wage.

“The backbone of my business is my employees,” Alma Rodriguez, founder of Queen Bees said. "For me, the advice for other business owners like myself, is to keep them motivated, keep them doing the right thing. It's just good karma for all of us."

The City has already allocated $400,000 to implement this legislation and the money will be used to staff the Treasury office as well as pay for public outreach.

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