San Mateo County’s New Minimum Wage Ordinance

San Mateo County

If you have a business in the unincorporated areas of San Mateo County, then you should be aware that San Mateo County is the latest locality to adopt a minimum wage ordinance. Approved in November 2022, the new minimum wage ordinance took effect on April 1, 2023, and raises the minimum wage to $16.50 per hour in unincorporated San Mateo County.

San Mateo County’s minimum wage ordinance only applies to businesses geographically located in the unincorporated areas of the county — it doesn’t apply in the city of San Mateo, which has its own minimum wage. In addition to the city of San Mateo, several other San Mateo County cities already have their own minimum wage rates, including:

  • Belmont;
  • Burlingame;
  • Daly City;
  • East Palo Alto;
  • Foster City;
  • Half Moon Bay;
  • Menlo Park; and
  • South San Francisco.  

The San Mateo County minimum wage ordinance covers all employees who work two hours or more in a particular week within the unincorporated areas of the county. Future annual increases will be based on a formula involving the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Beginning on January 1, 2024, and each year thereafter, the county minimum wage will be increased by whichever is less between a 3.5 percent raise or a percentage amount equal to the prior year’s increase, if any, in the CPI-W.

The minimum wage ordinance requires employers to post a notice prominently — in areas at the work site where it can be seen by all employees — that lists the minimum wage and describes employee rights under the ordinance. Additionally, employers will have to retain records of each employee’s name, hours worked and pay rate for a period of three years. Enforced by the California Labor Commissioner’s Office, the minimum wage ordinance also includes protections for employees from retaliation.

Given that this new ordinance only applies in the unincorporated areas of San Mateo County and so many incorporated cities in San Mateo County already have their own minimum wage ordinances, employers with work sites in San Mateo should pay extra attention to their employees’ exact locations.

For more information, employers can visit the San Mateo County’s minimum wage ordinance webpage, including Frequently Asked Questions.

Sarah Woolston, Employment Law Counsel/Subject Matter Expert

CalChamber members can use the Local Ordinances Wizard to determine if any local ordinances or labor law posters apply to your business or location(s). Not a member? See what CalChamber can do for you.

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