San Diego’s Minimum Wage Increases to $13/hour in 2020

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A handful of new California laws are now in effect at the start of the new year, including an increase in minimum wage. San Diego is one of 72 jurisdictions across the country seeing a bump in minimum wage in 2020. Minimum wage in California for businesses with 25 employees or less will be $12, while businesses with 25 or more employees are now required to pay a minimum wage of $13 per hour. 

Some jurisdictions have included their own stipulations to the law, including the city of San Diego, which will simplify the minimum wage to be $13 per hour for all businesses regardless of employee count. The city has released a map that will clarify whether a business’s location falls within the jurisdictional boundaries. 

The initiative is part of the city’s Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance, which was approved as a ballot measure in 2016. The bump in wages signifies a $1 increase from 2019’s minimum wage and is the latest in a series of raises that began rolling out in 2016. Since the City Council began approving these increases, the minimum wage has risen by $2, until it reaches a state-mandated wage of $15 per hour by 2023. 

The move has been met with mixed responses from workers and employers. The bump in pay will be a much-needed boost for San Diegans who are struggling to make ends meet while residing in an area with a high cost of living. Becky Davis, an employee at a local Mexican restaurant, told Fox 5 “Any dollar helps at this point. Most of us that work here and work at a minimum wage job are working as hard as we possibly can just trying to provide for our families.”

Small local businesses are seeing the wage increase have an impact on their bottom line, as already high expenses and overhead are making it difficult for them to thrive. Corbin’s Q BBQ and Brewhouse owner Corbin O’Reilly told KPBS that the increase in minimum wage will force him to raise prices in order to keep up with the restaurant’s overhead demand. 

Other areas of California are following similar practices, including Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Malibu, Pasadena, all of which will be raising their minimum wage to $14.25 per hour for small employers, and $15 per hour for large employers. The current highest minimum wage in the state is located in the city of Emeryville, just outside of San Francisco, requiring employers to pay $16.30 per hour. 

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