POLITICS

San Francisco Votes To Raise Minimum Wage To $15

San Francisco will gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the course of three years after residents voted in the pay hike Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The city’s minimum wage will increase to $12.25 per hour in May 2015 and to $13 per hour in July 2016. From there, the wage will go up by one dollar every year until July 2018 when it lands at $15 per hour, bringing the annual pay for a minimum-wage employee working full time to $31,000.

When announcing the measure in June after convening with activists, business representatives and city leaders, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (D) said the city's current $10.74 minimum wage "doesn't cut it."

The wage hike is a major step in addressing the city’s extreme economic inequality, triggered in part by the growth of Silicon Valley technology companies and the influx of their high-paid employees pricing out lower-income residents. One study this past summer found that the city’s income disparity was comparable to that of developing countries in Central America and sub-Saharan Africa.

San Francisco is already the city with the highest minimum wage, and passage of the wage increase will help it keep that placement. In the same month the city’s ballot measure was introduced, the Seattle City Council passed an ordinance gradually raising that city's minimum wage to $15, set to start taking effect in April 2015.

CONVERSATIONS