Ask The Locals: Cities and Counties Enacting Their Own Wage Ordinances

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Ask The Locals: Cities and Counties Enacting Their Own Wage Ordinances
 By:  Rebecca Hause-Schultz

In addition to complying with state and federal minimum wage standards, California employers must also be aware of local wage and hour ordinances. Local wage ordinances allow cities and counties to enact more employee-friendly minimum wage regulations and are becoming more popular. California cities and counties have enacted a variety of ordinances affecting wage and hour law, including: a higher minimum wage than required by state law; implementation of schedules for increasing minimum wages that differ from state law; and implementation of paid sick leave laws that exceed California’s statewide minimums.

In addition to state enforcement by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”), some local municipalities are establishing their own enforcement system. For example, the city of Los Angeles created a Wage Enforcement Division to enforce its local wage laws. This additional overlapping oversight may create confusion between the DLSE and local enforcement agencies trying to enforce state and local regulations.

So far, the cities and counties that have implemented local wage ordinances include: Berkeley, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Long Beach, Los Angeles city, Los Angeles County, Mountain View, Oakland, Palo Alto, Pasadena, Richmond, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Clara, Santa Monica, and Sunnyvale. However, the list continues to grow.


Local wage laws create an additional layer of regulation for employers, who are already forced to comply with both state and federal law. However, this added third layer of local regulation is becoming more prevalent, and employers must be aware of the changes, and the potential effect such changes have on their business. If you have questions about local wage laws in your area, contact The Saqui Law Group.


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