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Legal Alert

San Diego’s New Sick Leave Ordinance Is In Effect, And Fixes Are Imminent


On Monday, July 11, the San Diego City Council certified the Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Ordinance passed by voters last month and also passed amendments to the Ordinance. We published a summary of the law when it was passed by the voters last month. Fortunately, the amendments address many of the questions left unanswered by the original bill. Unfortunately, some of the amendments also include increased penalties.

Importantly, while the amendments require a second read in 30 days before they can be effective (which is expected to occur barring any unforeseen developments), the City Council has set July 11, 2016 as the effective date for employers to comply with the Ordinance’s original requirements. This is what employers need to know now about the Ordinance and the new forthcoming amendments:

Sick Leave
Employers of employees who work at least two hours in the City of San Diego in one or more weeks of the year are now obligated to provide paid sick leave as follows:

Minimum Wage
The new minimum wage of $10.50 per hour for employees who work in the City of San Diego is still effective as of July 11, 2016. This wage applies for each hour an employee works in the City of San Diego.

On January 1, 2017, the minimum wage will increase to $11.50 per hour. Beginning January 1, 2019, the minimum wage will increase every January 1 based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) U.S. City Average. The new rates will be announced each preceding October 1.

The Amended Ordinance strictly prohibits retaliation against employees who exercise their rights to minimum wage and paid sick leave or who report any violation by their employer regarding the same. If an employer takes adverse action against an employee within 90 days of the employee’s report of violation or other exercise of rights to sick leave or minimum wage, the employer will have the burden to prove that the adverse action was not related to such report or other exercise of rights.

NEW – Remedies
The Amended Ordinance outlines additional penalties for violation of the statute.  Employees claiming harm from a violation of the Ordinance may seek the following remedies:

Employees claiming retaliation may also seek liquidated damages that are the greater of double back wages or:

Additionally, employers who violate the Ordinance may be subject to the following civil penalties:

NEW – Enforcement
The Ordinance will now be enforced by the Office of the City Treasurer or other Office or Department designated by the Mayor, and the Amended Ordinance provides detailed procedures outlining the Enforcement Office’s authority.

If you have any questions about this Ordinance, or how it may affect your organization, please contact your Fisher Phillips attorney or one of the attorneys in any of our California offices:

San Diego: 858.597.9600
Irvine: 949.851.2424
Los Angeles: 213.330.4500
Sacramento: 916.503.1430
San Francisco: 415.490.9000

This Legal Alert provides an overview of a specific city ordinance. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation.

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