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SF Implements Highest Minimum Wage in USA

Updated: Jul 10, 2020 09:31
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Big, swinging, progressive legislation went into effect July 1st in San Francisco.   The city’s minimum wage went up to $16.07 per hour, giving San Francisco the highest minimum wage of any major city in the United Sates.

Sorry Seattle, your paltry “$13.50 an hour in wages and at least $15.75 an hour in minimum compensation” for businesses with less than 500 employees is no longer the measuring stick for worker compensation.  Although Seattle should be commended for really sticking it to large corporations and chains in their city, because if  you work at a Target, Starbucks or McDonald’s size corporation in Seattle you actually get $16.39 an hour which is higher than in San Francisco.

Interestingly enough, when you average Seattle’s two effective minimum wages ($15.75 for small companies and $16.39 for large) you get exactly San $16.07 which San Francisco’s minimum wage.  Either that is a freak coincidence, or the liberal economists in our respective cities got together and agreed on a number.

Emmeryville deserves an honorable mention, as it has a minimum wage of $16.30 per hour, which technically is the highest effective minimum wage in the nation, for a town with a population of 12,000.   To add some perspective, New York City and Washington DC are not too far behind at $15 per hour, and the Federal minimum wage, which is bare minimum you can pay someone in the nation, is $7.25 per hour.

What effect this will have on the economy now that shelter in place is in effect, is anyone’s guess.  Many essential workers, like grocers for example, have been getting hazard pay increases of $2-$3/hour for working during COVID to begin with.

In the restaurant industry they are far more worried about capacity issues and delivery service fees than hourly wages for employees.  Now that delivery is the main form of business, restaurant workers are ceding their tips to delivery drivers, and restaurant owners are ceding an extra 15% commission fee markup to the Doordashes, Uber Eats of the world.  The fees delivery apps can collect from restaurants was capped at 15% by the city in April, and will last “through the remainder of the local emergency, or until businesses are permitted to reopen for dine-in service, whichever comes first.”

You can bet that the delivery apps, whose stock has gone up 100% since shelter in place went into effect, will be salivating once dine-in service resumes, so they can bump up their fees to 30%.


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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

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