San Mateo County Supervisors Study Living Wage

Study Session: Tuesday, December 15th, at 9:30 a.m., 400 County Center, Redwood City

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors will consider a “living wage” policy to raise wages and establish job standards for employees of county contractors at a study session on Tuesday, December 15, 2015.

A living wage ordinance not only sets a wage floor, but incorporates provisions that promote healthy workplaces, expand access to economic opportunity, and protect workers from discrimination, intimidation or retaliation.

In addition, the Raise the Wage Coalition supports “fair scheduling” language to minimize erratic and unpredictable work schedules. When workers experience irregular work hours and schedules, families struggling to predict household income week to week, and find it difficult to provide stable care for their children, or pursue further education.

Other elements of a living wage policy include:

  • Fair Chance Hiring to combat hiring discrimination against people with a past criminal or arrest record by ensuring employers provide qualified applicants a fair chance for available job opportunities.
  • Targeted Hiring to increase access to economic opportunities for disadvantaged populations.
  • Voice at Work to ensure employees can speak freely about working conditions and to exercise their rights individually or collectively without fear of intimidation or retaliation.
  • An office of enforcement to implement and enforce this policy by informing employers and employees of their rights and obligations under the new regulations, and by monitoring compliance with the regulations.

San Mateo County spends over $300 million to purchase goods and services from outside businesses and contractors. The county invests almost $140 million in nonprofit organizations that provide direct client services to vulnerable families in the county. Even as nonprofits seek to serve these vulnerable populations, wages for their own staffs have not kept up with the rising cost of living. When the Board of Supervisors establishes a living wage, the coalition urges the Board of Supervisors to increase its funding to these community-based organizations to ensure they can meet the living wage standard.

San Mateo County already has policies governing the selection of contractors, such as provisions giving preference to local small businesses, and to those owned by women and minorities. A comprehensive living wage policy aims to align County’s public expenditures with its goal of increasing economic opportunity and equity for the county’s diverse populations. The county’s “Shared Vision 2025” seeks to promote a more prosperous community by enhancing employment opportunities for county residents, and by reducing poverty for low-income and vulnerable populations.

For more information, please contact Bradley Cleveland at the Raise the Wage Coalition, 650.260.3151.

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