Oakland's Minimum Wage Goes Up January 1, 2020

Date Posted: December 18th, 2019 @ 11:33 AM
Last Updated: December 18th, 2019 @ 1:53 PM
Dollar Sign

Oakland’s Measure FF, a voter-enacted ballot measure passed in November 2014, provides annual increases to Oakland’s Minimum Wage based on the local Consumer Price Index (CPI). Effective January 1, 2020, the rate rises 34¢, from $13.80 to $14.14 per hour. The law also requires that employers inform employees of the increase by December 15, 2019. To assist employers, the City of Oakland has posted notification posters at oaklandca.gov/minimumwage.

Many cities and states across the nation have enacted minimum wage laws so that workers may earn a wage that will allow them to provide for themselves and their families. Oakland voters spoke at the ballot box by resoundingly passing Measure FF with an 82% majority in November 2014. Regionally, several cities have also enacted minimum wage laws. San Francisco’s minimum wage is currently $15.59 per hour and Emeryville’s is $16.30 per hour.

“Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do and helps all Oakland workers,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf. “It also supports our local shops and economy when residents earn a respectable wage. As we continue to fight the cost of living crisis in our region, raising the minimum wage is the morally responsible thing to do.”

Minimum Wage Increase

Based on the local CPI, Measure FF raises the minimum wage in Oakland to $14.14 on January 1, 2020. Employees who perform at least two hours of work in a particular workweek within Oakland – including part-time, temporary and seasonal employees – must be paid at least the minimum wage. The minimum wage increase corresponds to the August 2018 to August 2019 increase of approximately 2.5% in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) for urban wage earners and clerical workers for the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The other benefits mandated by Measure FF – including paid sick leave and payment of service charges to hospitality workers – remain the same as when the employment law took effect on March 2, 2015.

Employers are prohibited from discharging, reducing compensation or otherwise discriminating against any person who makes a complaint under the law.

What Employers Need to Do

To comply with Measure FF, Oakland employers – and employers whose employees work at least two hours in a particular work week in Oakland – must begin paying their employees $14.14 per hour on January 1, 2020. In addition, they


must distribute and prominently display notices of the new Minimum Wage rate of $14.14 to employees by December 15, 2019. Notices must be in languages spoken by more than 10% of employees. Each new employee at time of hire should also receive the notice of the new Minimum Wage.

To assist employers, the City of Oakland has provided notification posters in English, Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese for download at oaklandca.gov/minimumwage.

Outreach Efforts to Raise Awareness about Measure FF

To educate both employers and employees about the minimum wage increase, the City of Oakland is conducting considerable business and community outreach. The City will: electronically mail an informational insert in four languages in the Business License Tax Renewal mailing in December, distribute 25,000 postcards throughout the community, regularly post information on social media, advertise in select newspapers including non-English outlets, broadcast a series of informational slides on the City’s television station KTOP TV 10, conduct business-by-business visits in commercial districts, and support ongoing monthly Workers’ Rights Legal Clinics.

Resources for Employers

Business owners who need a referral to a service provider for additional assistance with the employment law or general business technical assistance should contact the City of Oakland’s Business Assistance Center (BAC) at oaklandbusinesscenter.com, (510) 238-7952 or oaklandbac@oaklandca.gov. Free monthly business law clinics are provided by Legal Services for Entrepreneurs, a program of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Resources for Employees

Monthly Walk-In Workers’ Rights Legal Clinics are held by the City’s partner, Centro Legal de la Raza, 3022 International Blvd., Suite 410. The walk-in clinics are held the third Wednesday of each month and start at 9 a.m. Appointment slots fill quickly, so please arrive early. During these clinics, individual consultations with Centro Legal attorneys are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Other workers’ rights clinics are by appointment only. Call Centro Legal de La Raza at (510) 437-1554.

If you believe that your employer is not paying you the voter-mandated minimum wage and providing paid sick leave, you can hire an attorney to file an action against your employer or contact the City of Oakland’s Contracts & Compliance office at (510) 238-6258, or email: minwageinfo@oaklandca.gov.

To file a complaint with the City, please visit oaklandca.gov/minimumwage and complete the Employee Questionnaire & Declaration Form. After you submit your completed form, a Minimum Wage Compliance Officer will follow up with you.

Employers are prohibited from discharging, reducing compensation or otherwise discriminating against any person who makes a complaint under the ordinance.


More Resources Available Online

The City of Oakland has created a web page dedicated to providing up-to-date information, tools and resources for employers and employees needing information about this employment law. Go to oaklandca.gov/minimumwage to find:

  • Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • Legally mandated notification posters for the workplace in English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese
  • Tools and resources for employers, including partner organizations that offer technical assistance and legal resources
  • Measure FF ballot measure language

If employers or employees have questions or need additional assistance after visiting oaklandca.gov/minimumwage, they should call (510) 238-6258, or email minwageinfo@oaklandca.gov. Kindly provide your name and telephone number as well as business name and address in your message. City staff will respond to questions and provide additional information.

Business Impacts

Data from the State of California’s Employment Development Department indicates that Oakland’s unemployment rate has fallen from 6.1% in February 2015 to 3.0% in October 2018. In the same time period, the number of Oakland residents employed has risen from 196,400 to 210,800.

Additional insight can be provided in the results of a business survey conducted by a Mills College graduate student in July 2015 aimed to find out how Measure FF affected employment, business location and prices. More than 110 Oakland businesses responded from a wide range of industries and geographic areas. Nearly half (45%) of the respondents said they had made changes as a result of the Minimum Wage hike. Only 4% reported a decrease in the number of full-time employees, while 17% reported an increase in the number of full-time employees. More than 20% of respondents used City services to respond to the requirements of Measure FF. The survey results were consistent across different geographic areas within Oakland. Only two respondents suggested changes in the Minimum Wage law as an important way that the City of Oakland can support businesses.

Support Oakland Businesses, Support Oakland Workers

It’s important to support our dynamic local business community and in turn support Oakland workers. Shop in Oakland stores, dine at Oakland restaurants, visit Oakland cafes, stay in Oakland hotels and hire Oakland companies.

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