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Minimum Wage Study


Minimum Wage Study Graphic

The Sonoma City Council passed a local minimum wage ordinance at their meeting on June 10, 2019.  The ordinance was adopted as Ordinance #02-2019 .  It became effective July 10, 2019, 30 days after adoption, as Chapter 2.80 of the Sonoma Municipal Code.

Sonoma's local minimum wage is summarized below .  For information on implementation of Sonoma's minimum wage, including the official notice (poster) and frequently asked questions, go to

Minimum Wage Table



Background and Process:

On December 18, 2017, the City Council considered a request by then-Mayor Pro Tem Amy Harrington to hold a study session to review the living wage ordinance, report on the Council’s 2014 direction regarding a minimum wage study, and discuss the feasibility and impacts of a local minimum wage. After discussion, the City Council voted unanimously to hold a study session to discuss:

  1. Review of the City’s Living Wage Ordinance,
  2. Report on Council 2014 Direction regarding Minimum Wage Study, and
  3. Issuing an RFP to hire a Consultant to Study the Feasibility and Impacts of Raising the Minimum Wage in the City of Sonoma.

There was support for a timeframe of May 2018 for the study session.  Staff began initial research regarding potential consultant for a minimum wage study should the Council have been interested in moving forward.

In April 2018, the City was contacted by Marty Bennett, co-chair of North Bay Jobs with Justice.  North Bay Jobs with Justice (formerly the Living Wage Coalition of Sonoma County) is a community-labor coalition of 20 unions and community-based organizations affiliated with national Jobs with Justice. He stated that North Bay Jobs with Justice, together with the North Bay Central Labor Council and the Napa-Solano Central Labor Council, had contracted with the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education (UCB Labor Center) to prepare a study of the economic impacts of $15 citywide minimum wage (by 2020) for the North Bay, including Sonoma, Marin, Napa, and Solano counties and the cities within these counties.  The Labor Center’s methodology requires a population of at least 1 million people.  Marty Bennett indicated that the goal of North Bay Jobs with Justice is to introduce discussion of a “$15 minimum wage by 2020” simultaneously to the cities of Novato, Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, and Sonoma.

Based on this information, the City Council study session was rescheduled to a date after which the study was completed.  The study was completed in October 2018. The City held a study session at the February 4, 2019, City Council meeting to hear a report on a Minimum Wage Study completed by the UC Berkeley Labor Center.  The study explored the economic impacts of $15 citywide minimum wage (by 2020) for the North Bay, including Sonoma, Marin, Napa, and Solano counties and the cities within these counties.  The City Council voted to form a Minimum Wage Sub Committee comprised of Mayor Harrington and Vice Mayor Harvey to conduct outreach and develop policy parameters for the development of a local minimum wage ordinance.

The Sub-Committee returned to Council on May 6, 2019, the City Council received an update regarding a local minimum wage from City staff and a recommendation from the Council Ad-Hoc Sub-Committee (Mayor Harrington and Vice Mayor Harvey) regarding a proposal for a local minimum wage.  The City Council heard public testimony and then discussed policy options and alternatives.  The City Council took a number of “straw votes” to provide preliminary direction to staff regarding various components of a local minimum wage ordinance.  View or download the Minimum Wage Matrix showing the current State Law, a proposal by North Bay Jobs for Justice, the proposal by the Council Ad-Hoc Sub-Committee, and May 6th direction from the City Council (two columns on the right side).

At their May 20th Meeting, the Sonoma City Council discussed and gave direction to staff to prepare a draft ordinance to create a local minimum wage see wage rates and components.  On June 3rd, the Sonoma City Council approved the 1st reading of a local minimum wage ordinance.  The City Council will determine which CPI index to use at a future date. The ordinance includes a $1.50 health benefit credit to go into effect January 1, 2021. Additional work on defining the parameters of this credit will occur in 2020.

Below is the study, additional information, updates and reference information.



UC Berkeley Labor Center and Minimum Wage Study

The North Bay Minimum Wage Study is titled “Estimated Impact of a Proposed Minimum Wage Law for the North Bay” and was completed in October 2018 by the UC Berkeley, Labor Center.  The UCB Labor Center is a public service and outreach program of the UC Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE).  The Labor Center, founded in 1964, conducts research and education on issues related to labor and employment.

State Minimum Wage Information

Under State legislation enacted in 2016, California’s minimum wage increase is being phased in according to the following schedule. For employers with 25 employees or less, effective dates are delayed by one year. By 2023, the minimum wage for all employers will be $15/hour.

Schedule for California Minimum Wage rate 2017-2023

Date Minimum Wage for Employers with 25 Employees or Less Minimum Wage for Employers with 26 Employees or More
January 1, 2017 $10.00/hour $10.50/hour
January 1, 2018 $10.50/hour $11.00/hour
January 1, 2019 $11.00/hour $12.00/hour
January 1, 2020 $12.00/hour $13.00/hour
January 1, 2021 $13.00/hour $14.00/hour
January 1, 2022 $14.00/hour $15.00/hour
January 1, 2023 $15.00/hour


The Governor can pause a scheduled increase for one year if certain economic or budget conditions are met (known as “off-ramps”). The budget off-ramp can only be used twice.

After reaching $15/hour, the State minimum wage will be adjusted annually for inflation based on the national consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W) and the highest raise allowed in any one year is 3.5%.

The State of California requires employers to pay tipped employees full state minimum wage before tips.

For cities or counties that have a local minimum wage ordinance, the employer is required to pay the highest of those rates applicable to the employee at a particular time.

Other Reference Information

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