When the Santa Monica City Council passed a minimum wage ordinance slated to go into effect on July 1, 2016, it also appointed a working group to review and recommend changes to the law. Those changes were approved by the council last night and help clarify the existing draft of the ordinance. The amended law will go to the City Council for a second reading on May 10th and will be effective 30 days later.

Highlights of the ordinance include:

  • Minimum wage of $12.00 per hour effective July 1, 2017 for all Santa Monica employees, increasing to $13.25 on July 1, 2018, $14.25 on July 1, 2019 and $15.00 on July 1, 2020.
  • Phased approach to sick leave providing one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours through 2017 and 72 hours commencing January 1, 2018 for businesses with more than 25 employees. Smaller businesses need only provide 32 hours of paid sick leave through 2017 and 40 hours of paid sick leave commencing January 1, 2018.
  • Explicitly permits front-loading of paid sick leave which the initial draft of the ordinance failed to do.
  • Removes the requirement for employees to provide reasonable notice of the desire to take paid sick leave.
  • Removes the definition and regulation of “surcharges” while clarifying and expanding what constitutes a “service charge” that must be paid to employees.
  • Changes the hotel worker minimum wage to reflect the Los Angeles City Ordinance rate effective July 1, 2017. Notably, the Santa Monica hotel worker minimum wage applies to all hotel workers, regardless of the size of the hotel, unlike the LA ordinance which only applies to workers in hotels with 150 or more rooms. It also leaves unclear whether the paid sick leave provisions of the Santa Monica ordinance or the more expansive PTO provisions of the LA ordinance will apply.

In adopting this minimum wage ordinance, Santa Monica joins a growing list of cities in California to enact their own paid sick and minimum wage provisions.