Sonoma Minimum Wage

In mid-2019, the Sonoma City Council completed a Minimum Wage Study and adopted a local minimum wage ordinance, which became Chapter 2.80 of the Sonoma Municipal Code.  The table below summarizes the City's local minimum wage as compared with the State of California's minimum wage.

Minimum Wage Table

The following materials are available to download:

The Minimum Wage ordinance originally included a medical benefit credit of up to $1.50 per hour to go into effect January 1, 2021, with guidelines to be determined.  At the meeting of November 16, 2020 the City Council voted to introduce an ordinance  to remove the Health Benefit Credit (Section 2.80.040(F)).  The second reading of this ordinance is scheduled for the City Council meeting of December 7, 2020.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions are provided below, and additional background is available on the Minimum Wage Study page.  For more information, contact the City Clerk.

Sonoma also has a Living Wage ordinance, which is more limited in scope.  Learn more about the Living Wage here.

Frequently Asked Questions about Sonoma's Minimum Wage

The Sonoma City Council passed a local minimum wage ordinance in 2019.  Ordinance #02-2019 established a minimum wage rate to be paid by Large Employers (26 or more employees) and Small Employers (25 or fewer employees) with annual adjustments.

The first effective date for a local minimum wage that differs from the State minimum wage was January 1, 2020, at which time the Sonoma minimum wage rate was $13.50 for Large Employers and $12.50 for Small Employers.  Effective January 2021, the Sonoma minimum wage rate is $15.00 for Large Employers and $14.00 for Small Employers.

The annual schedule of wage rate increases can be found at the Sonoma Minimum Wage page, along with the official notice (poster) for Sonoma’s minimum wage which can be downloaded in English and Spanish.

Sonoma’s minimum wage applies to any person who in a particular week performs more than 2 hours of work within the geographic boundaries of the City of Sonoma for an employer.  The employee must be entitled to payment of minimum wage under the California minimum wage law (Section 1182.12 and Section 1197 of the California Labor Code) in order to be covered by Sonoma’s minimum wage.   Employees are covered for each hour worked within the City.  An employee who is typically based outside the City but works more than 2 hours within the City during a one-week period is covered for all time worked in the City in that one-week period.  See the Ordinance for details and exceptions.

 

Both the Sonoma minimum wage and current law for California minimum wage establish rates for large and small employers with annual increases at the beginning of each calendar year. Beginning January 1, 2020, Sonoma’s minimum wage rates exceed the State rates by $0.50/hour.  Beginning January 1, 2021 through the end of calendar year 2022, Sonoma’s minimum wage rates exceed the State rates by $1.00. Current State law has CPI adjustments once wage rates reach $15, while Sonoma’s rates continue to increase to $17.00 for large employers and $16.00 for small employers effective January 1, 2023.  View the chart summarizing these rates here.

Sonoma’s minimum wage ordinance sets different wage rates for Large Employers (an employer for which normally 26 or more persons work for compensation during a given week) and Small Employers (an employer for which normally 25 or fewer persons work for compensation during a given week).  Relevant guidelines for determining the number of persons performing work for an employer during a given week include:

  • All persons performing work on a full-time, part-time, or temporary basis are counted, included persons working through the services of a temporary or staffing agency, regardless of whether the employees work inside or outside of the City.
  • A Franchisee is not considered to be a Small Employer if associated with a Franchisor or network of Franchisees that employ more than 25 persons in aggregate.

For details and additional information, see the Ordinance.

Sonoma’s minimum wage rate makes an exemption for a “Learner”, an employee who is at least age 14 but not older than age 17 who meets to definition provided in California Welfare Commission Order No.. 4-2001.   A “Learner” may be paid not less than 85% of the local minimum wage (rounded to the nearest nickel) during his/her first 160 hours of employment, after which he/she shall be paid the applicable minimum wage.

Sonoma’s minimum wage ordinance also provides that any or all requirements may be waived in a bona fide collective bargaining agreement, but only if the waiver is explicitly and clearly set forth in that agreement.  Governmental agencies are exempt from the provisions of the local minimum wage ordinance.

See the Ordinance for further details on exemptions and exceptions.

Sonoma’s minimum wage does not allow for a tip credit or deduction, nor does it allow an employer to offset the minimum wage by the costs of housing or meals provided or paid for by the employer. Employers may not fund any increase in compensation required by Sonoma’s minimum wage through charges or wage deductions for parking, meals, uniforms or other items.

Commissions and guaranteed gratuities (not including discretionary tips or gratuities) may be counted toward payment of the minimum wage when they are earned and paid together with other compensation paid to an employee and together are equal to or greater than the current minimum wage.

The Minimum Wage ordinance originally included a medical benefit credit of up to $1.50 per hour to go into effect January 1, 2021.  However, at the meeting of November 16, 2020 the City Council introduced an ordinance  to remove the Health Benefit Credit (Section 2.80.040(F).  The second reading of this ordinance is scheduled for the City Council meeting of December 7, 2020.

See the Ordinance for further details.

The City of Sonoma’s Minimum Wage Ordinance (Sonoma Municipal Code Section 2.80) was adopted in 2019.  It established a minimum wage to be paid to any person who in a particular week performs more than two hours of work within the geographic boundaries of the City of Sonoma for an employer.  Learn more about the Minimum Wage ordinance here.

The City of Sonoma’s Living Wage Ordinance (Sonoma Municipal Code Section 2.70) was adopted in 2004. The Living Wage applies to a limited number of entities, and only if they employ more than six employees. These include the City of Sonoma itself and organizations that receive funding or financial assistance above certain levels from the City.  Learn more about the Living Wage ordinance here.

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