Oakland’s new Minimum Wage Increase Initiative applies to both private and public sector employees

On March 2, 2015, the City of Oakland’s new Minimum Wage Increase Initiative went into effect.   Under Municipal Code Chapter 5.92, employers in Oakland must pay employees an hourly rate of $12.25.  The rate itself increases annually on January 1 by a percentage corresponding to the previous year’s increase in the Consumer Price Index. 

Additionally, employers must now provide employees with paid sick leave.  Employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.  Employers with fewer than ten employees may cap sick leave at 40 hours, while employers with ten or more employees may cap sick leave at 72 hours.

Unlike many similar state and federal laws, the Oakland measure does not exempt employers under a certain size or public employers.  In fact, over 300 employees of the City of Oakland received a wage increase pursuant to this measure.  Furthermore, unlike the City of San Francisco’s similar law, there is no exemption for Oakland employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement.  They are entitled to the same minimum wage and sick leave required by Oakland’s Municipal Code.  Wages and sick leave are mandatory subjects of bargaining.

Each minimum wage and sick leave measure has unique peculiarities that should be considered.  For example, the Oakland ordinance creates protections for whistle blowers who report employers for violating the wage and sick leave provisions.

For questions regarding this law or the minimum wage and sick leave in general, please contact your labor law counsel. 

By Rob Szykowny | March 27, 2015

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