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October 1: Berkeley & SF Local Law Updates

(posted: September 24th, 2018)

Oct 1 Berkeley and SF ordinances

This October, employers with workers in the City of Berkeley or the City of San Francisco will need to be aware of changes to local ordinances.

Berkeley Minimum Wage Increase

On October 1, 2018, Berkeley's minimum wage rate will increase from the current $13.75 per hour rate to $15 per hour. Berkeley's Minimum Wage Ordinance requires employers to pay a local minimum wage to any employee who works at least two hours in one calendar week within the geographic boundaries of the city of Berkeley. Both the current and the new rates are higher than the state of California's minimum wage.

Berkeley's minimum wage rate will increase again in less than a year. Beginning on July 1, 2019, and each July 1 thereafter, the minimum wage will increase by the prior calendar year's increase, if any, in the regional Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Employers can find more information about Berkeley's minimum wage on the city's website.

San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance Amendment

San Francisco's Fair Chance Ordinance (FCO), also known as the "ban-the-box" law, sets restrictions on employers obtaining and using an applicant's criminal history. San Francisco amended the FCO in April of this year, and those amendments will become effective on October 1, 2018.

The FCO will now apply to employers located or doing business in San Francisco with five or more employees located anywhere, as opposed to the previous 20-employee threshold. Additionally, employers will be prohibited from inquiring about, requiring disclosure of, or basing employment decisions on a conviction for a crime that has been decriminalized, including the non-commercial possession, use and cultivation of marijuana.

The amendment also changes when an employer can ask applicants about criminal convictions. Currently, an employer can ask about an applicant's history either after a live interview or after a conditional offer of employment is made. Under this amended ordinance, employers will only be permitted to inquire about criminal convictions after a conditional job offer has made.

The lower employee threshold and the post-conditional offer of employment requirements will better align San Francisco's FCO with California's "ban-the-box" law.

The amended FCO also imposes heftier fines and penalties, and permits applicants and employees to file a civil suit against employers who violate the ordinance.

The FCO posting, notice, and record-keeping requirements continue, including the requirement to post a notice for employees in San Francisco locations. All employers, including those who were already subject to the FCO prior to the amendments, will need to use the updated FCO poster. The poster must be posted in English, Spanish, Chinese and any language spoken by at least 5 percent of the employees at the workplace. Employers can find more information about the FCO on the OLSE's website.

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