Minimum wage increases but is outstripped by inflation

By the Daily Post staff

Workers earning the minimum wage are making more money starting this month, but in most Mid-Peninsula cities the increase won’t cover inflation.

The state’s minimum wage has gone up to $15.50 per hour from $15 per hour for employers with more than 25 employees, and $14 for employers with 25 or fewer employees.

The state’s increase at 3.3% is about half of what the state’s inflation was over the past year, at 6%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Most Mid-Peninsula cities have their own minimum wage ordinances, so if you are making minimum wage in Mountain View, it will be higher than if you were working in Portola Valley, Woodside or San Bruno that follow the state’s minimum wage rules.

Most cities in this area also have the union loophole in their ordinance that allows an employer with a union contract to legally pay less than the minimum wage. This usually affects hotel housekeepers, kitchen workers and other jobs held by recent immigrants who might be fearful in protesting low wages out of fears of being deported. Immigrant activists protested the “union loophole” in Los Angeles in 2015, but when Mid-Peninsula cities were passing their minimum wage ordinances, the issue wasn’t raised.

Here are the new minimum wages in each city, as of Jan. 1:

BELMONT

$16.20 to $16.75 an hour

+3.4%

EAST PALO ALTO

$15.60 to $16.50 an hour

+5.8%

LOS ALTOS

$16.40 to $17.20 an hour

+4.9%

MENLO PARK

$15.75 to $16.20 an hour

+2.8%

MOUNTAIN VIEW

$17.10 to $18.15 an hour

+6.1%

PALO ALTO

$16.45 to $17.25 an hour

+4.9%

REDWOOD CITY

$16.20 to $17 an hour

+4.9%

SAN CARLOS

$15.77 to $16.32

+3.5%

6 Comments

  1. Minimum wage increases raise the prices at so many businesses that make it hard for some customers to afford. Unless you’re a high school or college student you shouldn’t be making minimum wage, and the minimum wage increases are out of control. Do high school kids living at home with no bills need to make $18.15 an hour? Inbelievable.

  2. I disagree. If high school students were the majority of Mid-Peninsula employees earning minimum wage, then why? Wouldn’t regular full-time employees take better paying jobs if the jobs were open to them? Have the folks who oppose minimum wage increases tried living on $18 per hour? We are fortunate to live in one of the most affluent areas in the United States, and I believe we can afford to supplement these increases.

    • Well Suzanne, like most well intentioned types you forget one important thing. Employers cannot afford higher wages for certain jobs. I am an employer and can no longer afford to hire part time, students mostly, workers. I had an internship for many years now I don’t, just cannot afford the wages. A often lost fact on these efforts to push up minimum wages is the loss of employment opportunities. You can pass on just so much of the price hike onto our clients before we start losing clients. The minimum wage has been co-opted by politicians with no real business experience. This affluent area you speak of is generally a result of high property values. The high incomes are washed away when one buys into the high housing market. Add higher goods and services to the mix and see what you get. A decline.’ I miss the internships we had and the wonderful people that worked in them. We all worked minimum wage once and I know none of us thought it to be a permanent status. This never ending routine of increasing the minimum wage will lose businesses as we have seen already.

      • That’s right. To put it plainly, when the minimum wage goes up, employers don’t spend more money on labor. They cut back the hours of employees to make up for the additional money they’ve got to spend. So with each minimum wage increase, the number of hours available to workers goes down. Those workers need to find other part-time jobs to make up for the lost hours.

        You make another good point — the minimum wage is pushed by politicians who don’t have any business experience. It’s embarrassing to watch the council fumble over financial statements, or make claims about numbers in those statements which are false. We have one council member who decided to tell a grocery store owner how to run his store. The council member’s experience? He was a bag boy in high school. The eyes rolled on that one.

  3. On the news you’ll see from time to time a “sob” story about some 40-year-old person who complains that they can’t feed their family on the minimum wage they make. The minimum wage was never intended for them. It was a starter wage for a young person entering the work force. The young employee would gain experience and knowledge, and their pay would increase accordingly. That way, nobody who was 40 would be trying to feed a family based on the minimum wage.

    When I see such a sob story on TV, I wish the reporter would ask them, “What did you do between the age of 18 and 40? Why didn’t your wages go up in the jobs you held during that time period?”

    I wonder if these 40-year-old minimum wage earners order off of the child’s menu when they go to a restaurant?

  4. An immutable law of mathematics is that you can’t increase the production cost of a Big Mac ™ without reducing the total number of Big Macs™ your wage can purchase. In Ireland the ™ would be absent due to a Supermacs™ lawsuit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.