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Labor Regulation and San Diego's New Minimum Wage

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on June 20, 2016 3:57 PM

San Diego is the latest city to raise the local minimum wage and outline obligatory accrual of sick leave for employees. The change will take effect as soon as July of this year, JD Supra reports, but won't apply retroactively.

The measure will gradually increase the minimum wage for workers in San Diego, and provide much-needed sick leave. As soon as it takes effect, employees will see a 50 cent bump in hourly wages to $10.50. In January, there will be a one dollar bump and from 2019, wages will increase with the cost of living annually, based on the Consumer Price Index for the previous year. Let's consider labor regulation in the Californian city and beyond.

Changing Regulations

The raise in minimum wages will be welcome to workers in San Diego, and sick leave is most necessary for those who make the least and have no paid time off. But application of the rules hinges on the definition of employee, among other things, and certain workers are deemed independent and exempt. This means that inevitably some laborers won't benefit from the change.

For example, last month new national labor standards were announced, raising the wages that qualify for overtime pay, and some business groups responded by saying this would cut projects and hiring. The change is meant to help middle class workers who have not been getting pay for extra hours, but labor experts predicted businesses would shift work and worker classifications in response, rather than paying employees by the raised standards.

Similarly, workers around the country have been battling corporate employers who classify them as independent contractors when they say they're full-time employees. Uber has drawn the most attention for these cases given its widespread presence, but it's far from the only corporation using shady classification as a way to avoid responsibility for workers.

The Right Approach

The employee-employer relationship is interdependent, and in an ideal world we wouldn't need the government to regulate it. But business is competitive and this is not an ideal world, so you as a business owner need to find an approach that will work for you financially without squeezing employees. Their loyalty and quality production has a value that can't be quantified easily but can make the difference between getting by and being the best.

Talk to a Lawyer

If you need advice on wages, labor, or any other aspect of business operations, consult with counsel. Good guidance can help take your business to the next level.

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