• Companies doing city business can't pay poverty wages

Living Wage

The San Diego City Council passed the Living Wage Ordinance on April 12, 2005, following six years of advocacy by CPI and many other local organizations and individuals. The ordinance requires any company with city service contracts or doing business at city facilities to:

  • Pay all workers at least the Living Wage, adjusted annually for inflation.
  • Provide health coverage or pay a differential intended to cover health expenses.
  • Provide 10 paid sick days or vacation days a year.

The measurable human impact is dramatic:

  • 2070 local residents now earn the Living Wage, which is $29473 a year for a full-time job. Compared to the $18,720 annual total on minimum wage, that difference is enough to move an individual from below poverty to self-sufficiency.
  • Those workers now receive health coverage through their employers or an extra $2.37 an hour toward buying their own coverage.

In 2013, the Living Wage requirements applied to 133 contracts totaling $32.9 million, primarily for landscaping, janitorial services, security and maintenance.

The Living Wage regulations have worked well for the City, for employers, and for local working families struggling to make ends meet in high-cost San Diego.

Businesses also have benefited. Nearly half of the employers required to pay the Living Wage self-reported that it has improved their company’s quality of service. 59% LWO employers agreed that that the LWO reduced absenteeism; as self-reported by contractors in Fiscal Year 2013.

The cost to the city has been miniscule. In fiscal year 2009, the total of increased contract costs and staff time for Living Wage administration and enforcement added less than one-tenth of 1% to the City budget.

CPI remains active in helping enforce the Living Wage Ordinance. In 2012, CPI joined workers and taxpayers in advocating that JL Krueger Landscaping be permanently barred from city contracts for failure to pay workers the required wage, and the City Council agreed.

Learn more about the City of San Diego’s Living Wage Program here.

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