The authors of a new study showing widespread local wage theft are calling on Mayor Kevin Faulconer to more aggressively enforce San Diego’s minimum wage increase, which took effect one year ago.
The study found that only a small percentage of affected workers file wage theft claims, many workers don’t understand wage laws or how to file claims, and that the resolution of claims often takes many months.
The study comes two months after California’s labor commissioner asked Faulconer to partner with her on enforcement efforts because state officials in San Diego are overwhelmed by complaints.
A statement from Faulconer’s office Tuesday said “all minimum wage laws have been enforced” since they took effect in the city. San Diego’s minimum wage is $11.50 an hour, $1 higher than the state’s minimum wage of $10.50.
A report from April shows the city has focused most of its enforcement efforts on educating merchant organizations about the new law, with no penalties assessed in response to 44 complaints because employers agreed to begin paying the higher wage.
The new study — a joint project of San Diego State University, the Center on Policy Initiatives and the Employee Rights Center — urges Faulconer to increase funding for targeted investigations at work sites.