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Reminder: San Mateo County’s New Minimum Wage Ordinance Goes Into Effect

19 Apr


Update Applicable to:
All businesses in San Mateo County, California.

What happened?
Workers will make at least $16.50 an hour in unincorporated San Mateo County starting April 1, 2023, the first local minimum wage for areas that range from commercial corridors to coastal farmland.

What are the details?
The Board of Supervisors in November 2022 approved setting the minimum wage at $16.50 to put more money into the pockets of fast-food employees, agricultural laborers, and other typically low-wage workers. This new minimum wage is $1 per hour higher than the state’s minimum wage, which increased on January 1, 2023.

The minimum wage must be paid to employees who work at least two hours a week, with few exceptions. Businesses of all sizes must pay workers at least $16.50 for all time worked within the geographic boundaries of unincorporated San Mateo County.

The County’s minimum wage applies to workers regardless of immigration status across a wide geographic region. This includes North Fair Oaks, home to the bustling Middlefield Road corridor, agricultural land stretching from south of Pacifica to Pescadero, Broadmoor Village in the North County, and other unincorporated pockets.

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office will ultimately enforce the minimum wage. This avoids establishing a new local enforcement agency while providing consistency across jurisdictions as the Labor Commissioner’s mission is to “ensure a just day’s pay in every workplace….” The ordinance also allows an individual employee to sue his or her employer for not complying.

The new minimum wage applies to so-called gig workers, employees who get paid tips, and adults and minors. Mirroring the state’s minimum wage requirements, there is an exception for “learners” – who may earn 85 percent of the minimum wage for the first 160 hours of employment, then $16.50 per hour.

Beginning January 1, 2024, and then annually, the County’s minimum wage will be set based on a formula involving the consumer price index, which tracks the prices of goods and services, and the prior year’s increase.

For more information, please see the links below:

San Mateo County Website Announcement

Boundaries of Unincorporated San Mateo

Labor Commissioner’s Office

Minimum Wage Requirements


What do employers need to do? Employers should review the links provided above and make immediate adjustments to their payroll to ensure their minimum wage complies with the new ordinance.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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