City & County Minimum Wage Ordinances Leaving State Laws in the Dust

January 29th, 2018

Over the past couple of years, there has been an upsurge in the number of municipalities that have passed minimum wage ordinances with higher rates than the state minimum wage laws. As a result, the number of mandatory city and county labor law posters has increased significantly.

As of 2018, a total of 35 cities and/or counties in the following states have instituted minimum wage laws that include a workplace poster requirement: Washington, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Minnesota, Illinois, Maine, and Maryland.

These minimum wage laws typically provide stepped increases over several years, until the wages reach a particular level, or annual wage adjustments, where the wage rates might go up or down based on inflation.

Among the 35 municipalities, 26 have adopted stepped increases, and 9 have instituted annual minimum wage increases or adjustments, with nearly all these changes occurring on January 1 or July 1.

Seattle, WA has the distinction of being the first U.S. city to reach a $15.00 minimum wage, which went into effect on January 1, 2017. The Emerald City’s minimum wage ordinance calls for stepped increases based on the size of an employer’s workforce and whether employers do or do not contribute to employees’ medical benefits or provide a tipped wage.

On the other hand, the State of California has the most cities/counties that have enacted minimum wage ordinances—22 to be exact—the majority of which are on a multi-step path to $15.00 per hour.

In Northern California alone, 19 cities—including Berkeley, Richmond, San Francisco, San Jose, and Palo Alto—are currently climbing toward the $15.00 mark. San Francisco employers should take note that the $15.00 minimum wage in the City by the Bay goes into effect in a few months, on July 1, 2018. Cities in Northern California that have already reached the $15.00 level include Emeryville, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale.

In Southern California, only a few cities/counties have passed minimum wage ordinances. Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, Malibu, Santa Monica, and Pasadena are all on a trajectory to $15.00, with different increases for large and small employers. However, employers and workers in Pasadena should be aware that in February 2019, the City Council will review a report summarizing the economic impact of a $15.00 minimum wage prior to enforcing the last two minimum wage increases called for in the city’s ordinance.

Of course, this trend of cities and counties moving toward a $15.00 minimum wage is not just centered on the West Coast. Recent minimum wage laws that passed in Flagstaff, AZ; Minneapolis, MN; and Montgomery County, MD provide multi-step increases to $15.00.

Plus, in Illinois, both the City of Chicago and Cook County enacted minimum wage ordinances with stepped increases to a lesser rate of $13.00, followed by annual adjustments. Although, workers in The Windy City will receive the $13.00 per hour minimum wage one year ahead of employees in Cook County.

As 2018 progresses, you can rest assured that we’ll be staying on top of city/county minimum wage changes, as well as other local laws that might require a new or updated workplace poster.

Compliance Made Easy

Because poster changes can happen at any time, Poster Compliance Center offers a City/County Poster 1-Year Plan. Under the plan, customers receive free updated posters for mandatory changes—no matter how many occur during the 12-month period—making this the best option for worry-free compliance!


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