Public Comment

Berkeley Minimum Wage Increased

Harry Brill
Saturday July 06, 2019 - 10:02:00 AM

Activists and working people in Berkeley should be proud of their achievement of winning a minimum wage of $15 an hour and an annual increase according to the Consumer the Consumer Price Index. As of July of this month, the minimum wage has been increased from $15 to $15.59 cents an hour. The minimum wage will be adjusted every July 1. 

Those who fought for the annual adjustment were aware that without an annual increase the buying power of the minimum wage would decline. Moreover, employers are not allowed to deduct the wage because of gratuities and tips. 

Also, employees earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work. 

Employers had claimed that a minimum wage law would hurt both business and employees as well. But on the contrary, since the law passed in 2014, the unemployment rate dropped from 4.6 percent to 2.8 percent in 2018. Clearly, the Berkeley economy has been doing well. Undoubtedly the aggregate impact of the wage increase has been to improve the local economy. 

It is not that the current wage is considered adequate. However, I think we agree that it is going in the right direction.