[caption id="attachment_2651" align="alignright" width="113"]Kevin Sullivan Kevin Sullivan[/caption]

The cities of Santa Monica, Pasadena, and San Diego have each recently passed ordinances increasing the minimum wage effective July 1, 2016. And two of them have passed ordinances providing for paid sick leave beyond that required by California state law.

Santa Monica

The City of Santa Monica has passed a new ordinance providing for a city-wide minimum wage of $10.50 beginning July 1, 2016, $12.00 beginning July 1, 2017, and $13.25 beginning July 1, 2018, $14.25 beginning July 1, 2019, $15.00 beginning July 1, 2020 for most businesses with 26 or more employees. There is a one-year lag for most businesses with 25 or fewer employees – i.e., the $10.50 minimum wage begins July 1, 2017.

Non-profit corporations may apply for a deferral if they meet certain requirements.

Effective January 1, 2017, there are also new paid sick leave requirements, with accrual limits as follows:

  • 1, 2017: 32 hours for small businesses (25 or fewer employees); 40 hours for larger businesses (26 or more employees)
  • 1, 2018: 40 hours for small businesses; 72 hours for larger businesses
  • Accrual rate is one hour for every 30 hours worked
  • Employees can carry over accrued sick leave annually (calendar year, fiscal year, or hiring date) up to the accrual cap
  • Employers can provide sick leave at the start of the year as a whole rather than by accrual, as long as this provides leave consistent with the required accrual amounts
  • Other sick leave plans will comply if equal to or more generous than the ordinance
  • Sick leave use follows California State guidelines.

Here are links to Santa Monica’s fact sheet of the new ordinance and the new ordinance itself.


Effective July 1, 2016, the minimum wage for hours worked within the geographic boundaries of the City of Pasadena will $10.50. The minimum wage will be $12.00 beginning July 1, 2017, and $13.25 effective July 1, 2018.

The Pasadena ordinance also requires that employers give a written notice of employees’ rights under the new ordinance to current employees and new employees at the time of hire.

Like Santa Monica’s ordinance, non-profit corporations may apply for a deferral concerning the Pasadena ordinance if they meet certain requirements.

Here is a link to the Pasadena ordinance that has specific details on the new requirements.

San Diego

The City of San Diego passed its own ordinance increasing the minimum wage to $10.50 (essentially, effective immediately) and $11.50 effective January 1, 2017 for each hour worked within the geographic boundaries of San Diego. Non-profit corporations may apply for a deferral for the San Diego ordinance if they meet certain requirements.

The new ordinance also provides for paid sick leave beyond state requirements: Employers must provide an employee with one hour of earned sick leave for every thirty hours worked by the employee within the geographic boundaries of the City of San Diego, but employers are not required to provide an employee with earned sick leave in less than one-hour increments for a fraction of an hour worked. Earned sick leave must be compensated at the same hourly rate or other measure of compensation as the employee earns from his or her employment at the time the employee uses the earned sick leave.

Additionally, employees may determine how much earned sick leave they need to use, provided that employers may set a reasonable minimum increment for the use of earned sick leave not to exceed two hours. Employers may limit an employee’s use of earned sick leave to forty hours in a “Benefit Year” (which is defined as a “regular and consecutive twelve-month period, as determined by the employer”), but employers must allow employees to continue to accrue earned sick leave based on the formula above. Unused earned sick leave must be carried over to the following Benefit Year.

Here is a link to the San Diego ordinance that has specific details on the new requirements.

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