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San Diegans will earn higher min wage 2015

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Next January 1st, restaurants and retail stores will offer San Diego workers a higher minimum wage. The city council decided Monday to raise the minimum wage to 10 dollars an hour using three yearly increases on January 1st of the year.

Democratic councilmembers voted yes on making a new minimum wage ordinance the law instead of sending the minimum wage raise to the voters in November for a vote.

Numbers of San Diegans living in poverty, and, families short on income to pay for the city's high cost of living widened support for Councilman Todd Gloria's cause. San DIegans in need of more income. "Too many San DIegans simply are not making ends meet," Gloria said at the council meeting at City Hall before Monday's vote.

The city followed behind northern West Coast cities Seattle, and San Francisco and Oakland, on raising the wages its city workers earn at the workplace. Los Angeles, Gloria told the council, plans to raise its minimum wage.

After the minimum wage reacehs its new level in 2017, the city will adjust the wage to the cost of living using a local urban consumer price index.

If the federal minimum wage, or the California minimum wage, increase above the San DIego minimum wage in the future, the city will increase its minimum wage to match the higher minimum wage at the same time.

The ordinance proposed by Councilman David Alvarez at the meeting, and seconded by Marti Emerald, also guarantees employers give San Diego employees the opportunity to earn 5 days of sick leave a year. Unused sick leave rolls over to the next year. Employers do not have to pay out unused sick leave when an employee ends employment.

"San Diego values hard work and fair pay," Gloria said. Pay he calls "decent," and, enough to support a family.

The wage will not end poverty, he said. But, like him and his family, the low wage workers can "see a path forward." San DIegans, in three years, have "an opportunity to live the American dream."

This is a Center Line Policy ALert.