On Tuesday, the Sunnyvale City Council directed staff to come back this summer with an ordinance that will increase the local minimum wage despite AB 10, which will increase the California’s minimum wage in July to $9 per hour and to $10 per hour in January 1, 2016.
City staff held several meetings with the business community to gather information, input and concerns. In a survey by the city, more than 19% of respondents indicated that they would lay off workers, while nearly 27% said they would reduce workers’ hours. Additionally, more than 30% indicated they would delay future hiring and would not open another location in Sunnyvale, and 18% may consider relocating outside the city.
Even with the concerns raised by the business community, the council majority voted to advance the issue without any exemptions and any regard for the effect it will have on businesses and their employees.
During the council meeting, a couple of councilmembers expressed supporting some exemptions in the ordinance, including tipped employees earning above the minimum wage. However, the author of the motion was not open to accepting a number of exemptions that could have mitigated some of the cost impacts to businesses.
The council’s vote (6-1), directed staff to prepare an ordinance similar to San Jose’s minimum wage that was approved by voters in November 2012. This includes putting annual wage increases on auto-pilot tied to the Consumer Price Index. The current minimum hourly wage in San Jose is $10.15 per hour.