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Which California city has the highest minimum wage?

State law in California says employees must be paid a minimum wage. But several cities and counties across the state have their own ordinances that require employers pay a higher hourly rate.

The current minimum wage in California is $15/hour for businesses with 26 or more employees and $14/hour for those with fewer workers.

In the new year, the hourly rate will increase to $15.50 regardless of business size.

So which cities in California have the highest minimum wage? Most of them are located in the Bay Area.

Emeryville, in Alameda County, is at the the top of the list compiled by UC Berkeley Labor Center with a minimum wage of $17.68 an hour.

Two other cities, also in the San Francisco Bay Area, have minimum wages above $17: Mountain View and Sunnyvale, both in Santa Clara County. There, the minimum wage is $17.10 an hour.

Coming in just below the $17 mark, still in the Bay Area, are Berkeley and the city and county of San Francisco, where the minimum wage is $16.99 an hour.

At the bottom of the labor center’s list are the cities of San Diego and San Leandro, where the minimum wage is $15 regardless of business size. That’s one dollar higher than the state’s minimum wage for small employers. But San Diego won’t be there for long — the city is raising its minimum wage to $16.30 on January 1, 2023.

In some localities, hotel workers must be paid a different minimum wage. In West Hollywood, for example, the minimum wage for hotel employees is $18.35 as of July 1. In Santa Monica, the wage is $18.17.

Listed below in alphabetical order are 40 cities and counties in California that have their own minimum wage ordinances, followed by the current rate. It’s worth noting many of these localities will be raising their rates next year.

  • Alameda: $15.75
  • Belmont: $16.20
  • Berkeley: $16.99
  • Burlingame: $15.60
  • Cupertino: $16.40
  • Daly City: $15.53
  • East Palo Alto: $15.60
  • El Cerrito: 16.37
  • Emeryville: $17.68
  • Foster City: $15.75
  • Fremont: $16
  • Half Moon Bay: $15.56
  • Hayward: $15.56 for large businesses, $14.52 for small
  • Los Altos: $16.40
  • Los Angeles: $16.04
  • Los Angeles County (unincorporated): $15.96
  • Malibu: $15.96
  • Menlo Park: $15.75
  • Milpitas: $16.40
  • Mountain View: $17.10
  • Novato: $15.77 for very large businesses, $15.53 for large and $15 for small
  • Oakland: $15.06
  • Palo Alto: $16.45
  • Pasadena: $16.11
  • Petaluma: $15.85
  • Redwood City: $16.20
  • Richmond: $15.54
  • San Carlos: $15.77
  • San Diego: $15, regardless of size
  • San Francisco: $16.99
  • San Jose: $16.20
  • San Leandro: $15, regardless of size
  • San Mateo: $16.20
  • Santa Clara: $16.40
  • Santa Monica: $15.96
  • Santa Rosa: $15.85
  • Sonoma: $16 for large businesses, $15 for small
  • South San Francisco: $15.80
  • Sunnyvale: $17.10
  • West Hollywood: $16.50 for large businesses, $16 for small

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