San Francisco passes minimum wage enforcement legislation
By Angela Hokanson, Bay City News Service
July 11, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Legislation that would increase
the resources available to enforce San Francisco's minimum wage
law passed on the first reading at the San Francisco Board of
The Minimum Wage Implementation and Enforcement ordinance was
passed after being continued for several weeks while Supervisor
Sophie Maxwell, who sponsored the legislation, and San Francisco
Mayor Gavin Newsom worked out who would finance the expanded enforcement
The legislation originally called for medium and large San Francisco
businesses to pay a fee to cover the costs associated with strengthening
the enforcement of the city's minimum wage law, according to Greg
Asay, a legislative aid for Maxwell.
But concern within the mayor's office as well as in the business
community about passing the enforcement costs on to businesses
prompted discussions between Maxwell and Newsom regarding alternative
ways to finance the enforcement.
The legislation was amended to have increased enforcement efforts
paid for with monies from the city's general fund, Asay said.
Newsom has agreed to provide city general fund money for four
new staff people at the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement,
as well as money for community outreach programs related to minimum
According to Asay, the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement
was given responsibility in 2003 for enforcing the city's minimum
wage law, but the agency was not given funding sufficient for
The city will spend an additional $420,000 in fiscal year 2006-2007
for the strengthened enforcement efforts, according to Asay. The
mayor intends to maintain the additional staff positions at the
labor standards office in subsequent years, Asay said.
At present, the labor standards office is more or less reactive,
and enforces the minimum wage law by responding to reports of
possible violations. Asay expects that the office will become
more proactive once there are additional staff members.
The legislation represents a "really good victory for San
Francisco workers," Asay said. Immigrants and other vulnerable
populations are still victims of minimum wage violations in the
city, according to Asay.
The legislation also expands the powers of the labor standards
office, permitting the agency to investigate violations of things
such as overtime pay, according to Asay.
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