Minimum Wage

While the federal government has led the establishment of the national minimum wage, increasingly states and local municipalities have created local ordinances.  The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, while California’s minimum wage is $12.00 an hour for employers with 26 or more employees ($11.00 if less than that amount).  Depending upon how the local ordinances were initially introduced, they can either be created legislatively (by a local City Council or Board of Supervisors) or if they were previously set by voter initiative, then only another voter initiative can change them.  All applicable minimum wages must be posted and visible for employees to see.

California posting

City of Berkeley posting

City of Oakland posting

City of Emeryville posting

City of Richmond posting

City of San Francisco posting

City of San Jose posting

City of San Mateo posting

Within the Bay Area, minimum wage ordinances have been set legislatively in Berkeley, Emeryville, San Mateo and Richmond.  While San Francisco, San Jose, and now Oakland’s ordinances have been set by voter initiative.

If a local minimum wage ordinance has not been set, the minimum wage standard is that of the State of California, which is $12.00, an hour for most employers (those with 26 or more employees).

Minimum Wages as of January 1, 2019  
Berkeley $15.00
California $12.00*
Oakland $13.80
San Francisco $15.00
San Jose $15.00
San Mateo $15.00*

Meal Breaks

Employers are required to provide employees with meal breaks dependent upon the hours worked in any given shift. Meal break timing is as follow:

  • 30 minute unpaid, uninterrupted meal break after no more than 5 hours of work.
  • Second 30 minute unpaid, uninterrupted meal break after no more than 10 hours.

Meal breaks can be voluntarily waived by the employees under the following circumstances:

  • When an employee works more than 5 hours, but less than 6.
  • When an employee has taken their first meal break, they may waive the second meal break after working 10 hours, but no more than 12.

GGRA partner, Fisher & Phillips, LLP, has provided several examples of meal break waiver forms for our members. Sign in to download yours here.

Formula Retail Employee Rights Ordinances

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the Formula Retail Employee Rights Ordinances in 2015. The ordinances apply to all formula retail businesses with at least 40 locations world-wide and 20 employees in the City of San Francisco. These laws regulate hours, retention, and scheduling, and treatment of part-time employees at Formula Retail Establishments. The required posting can be found here, and the rules can be found here. An overview of the requirements are as follows:

Offering Additional Work to Part-time Employees: Covered employers must offer any extra work hours to current qualified part-time employees in writing before hiring new employees or using contractors or staffing agencies to perform additional work.

Employee Retention: If a covered Formula Retail Establishment is sold, the Successor Employer must retain, for 90 days, eligible employees who worked for the former employer for at least six months prior to the sale. The employer must post a notice of the “change in control” and provide employees with a notice about their rights.


  • Initial Estimate of Work Schedule – Covered employers are required to provide new employees with a good faith written estimate of the employee’s expected minimum number of scheduled shifts per month and the days and hours of those shifts.
  • Two Week’s Notice of Work Schedules – Employers must provide employees with their schedules two weeks in advance.
  • Predictability Pay for Schedule Changes – If changes are made to an employee’s schedule with less than seven days’ notice, the employer must pay the employee a premium of 1 to 4 hours of pay at the employee’s regular hourly rate.
  • Pay for on Call Shifts – If an employee is required to be “on-call,” but is not called in to work the employer must pay the employee a premium of 2 to 4 hours of pay at the employee’s regular hourly rate.
  • Exceptions – Employers do not have to provide “predictability pay” or payment for on-call shifts if any of the following conditions apply:
    Operations cannot begin or continue due to threats to Employees or property; Operations cannot begin or continue because public utilities fail; Operations cannot begin or continue due to an Act of God or other cause not within the Employer’s control (such as an earthquake); Another Employee previously scheduled to work that shift is unable to work and did not provide at least seven days’ notice; Another Employee failed to report to work or was sent home; The Employer requires the Employee to work overtime ; or The Employee trades shifts with another Employee or requests a change in shifts.

Equal Treatment for Part-time Employees: Employers must provide equal treatment to part-time employees, as compared to full-time employees at their same level, with respect to (1) starting hourly wage, (2) access to employer-provided paid time off and unpaid time off; and (3) eligibility for promotions.

Janitorial and Security Contractors: Janitorial and security contractors of Formula Retail Establishments covered by these Ordinances must comply with most of the provisions of Police Code Articles 33 F and G, and Formula Retail Establishments must notify their contractors of these requirements.

Employer Notice: Covered Formula Retail Establishments are required to post a notice at the workplace informing covered employees of their rights under these laws.