San Diego’s hotly contested minimum wage ordinance has been put on ice until at least 2016. The City Council approved the ordinance in July and then later overrode the mayor’s veto. A petition drive by San Diego business leaders has now succeeded in forcing the issue to the ballot.
Had the ordinance become effective, the wage increase to $11.50 per hour would have been phased in over a three-year period between January 2015 and January 2017. Thereafter, the minimum wage would have increased on an annual basis as determined by the Consumer Price Index. The ordinance would have also mandated up to 40 hours of sick pay per year.
Although the City Council originally contemplated placing the matter on the November 2014 ballot, by a 6-to-3 majority, the counsel subsequently decided to directly enact the measure.
With only 30 days to act, business leaders quickly gathered the over 33,000 signatures needed to override the Council’s action. In fact, recent reports indicate that they gathered over 56,000 signatures. The City Clerk validated the signatures on October 23.
The City Council is now presented with two choices. First, the Council could repeal the ordinance. Second, the Council could place the matter on the ballot. The second option is much more likely, given the Council’s majority support for the ordinance. The Council is scheduled to meet on October 20, 2014, to consider the matter.
In the meantime, California’s mandatory sick pay law, which will provide most employees with a minimum of three days of sick pay per year, will become effective on July 1, 2015.