San Jose Minimum Wage Rise to $13.50

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Arturo Hilario
El Observador

San Jose, Calif. – On January 1st the minimum wage in San Jose rose to 13.50 per hour, the most recent step to raise the minimum wage around the Bay Area to $15 per hour by 2019.

San Jose is among other cities across 19 states whose minimum wage raises went into effect on January 1st. San Jose is on course to raise their minimum wage to $15 per hour by January 1st, 2019. On the state level the $15 figure is set to be state minimum by 2022.

The United States’ federal minimum continues to sit at $7.25, since its last change in 2009.

The minimum wage takes effect on any employers who pay a San Jose Business License Tax, or who “maintain a facility in San Jose”. Any employee who performs at least two hours of work will benefit from the $13.50 per hour rate.

In a press release by the City of San Jose, a brief timeline of the push for a higher minimum wage was overviewed.

“In September 2015, Mayor Sam Liccardo launched an effort with fellow Santa Clara County mayors and the Cities Association of Santa Clara County to raise the minimum wage across the region. San Jose City Council adopted a multi-step increase in the minimum wage that brings the minimum wage to $13.50 on Jan. 1, 2018 and $15 on Jan. 1, 2019. Thereafter, the San Jose minimum wage will be automatically adjusted with cost-of-living increases (based on CPI, up to 5%) annually.”

The efforts of Mayor Liccardo and other Santa Clara cities have led to them adopting ordinances to raise the minimum wage to $15 by next year. These cities include Cupertino, Los Altos, Milpitas Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale. According to the Mayor’s office, Sunnyvale and Mountain view will hit the $15 minimum wage later in 2018.

Mayor Liccardo says, “By moving forward with many of our neighboring cities, we’ll ensure that more of our residents benefit from a higher wage and that we have a more even playing field for our small businesses.”

This outcome has been the work of not only county leadership, but of unions and worker’s rights organizations like Fight for $15. In Silicon Valley especially, the rising costs of living along with the disparity in wages from tech workers and those not in those positions who work a stone’s throw from each other.

These strikes and union organization has led to increased raises from many corporations like McDonald’s and Target. According to the Fight for $15 organization, their efforts have garnered “$62 billion in raises for 22 million people across the country.”

San Jose is one of the most progressive cities when it comes to minimum wage efforts and although more focus on housing will need to be taken before congratulating itself, the minimum wage rise should theoretically help workers across the Bay Area.

Mayor Liccardo acknowledged this by saying, “Our efforts to raise the minimum wage will provide a significant boost for the thousands of hard-working families across the valley who continue to struggle to keep up with rising costs.”

San Jose’s Minimum Wage Bulletin can be read at: