She also wants the ordinance to apply only to people who work 10, or even five hours a week, because she wants there to be exemptions in the law for informal workers, like young dog walkers or date-night babysitters.
The new ordinance sets the minimum number of hours an employee has to work to be eligible for the minimum wage at two hours a week, in keeping with other local jurisdictions, rather than the 10 hours a week staff recommended after receiving input from the city's business community.
Several community members raised concerns that a 10-hour-weekly cutoff could give employers incentives to cap some workers' hours below 10 to avoid the higher-wage requirement.
After 2020, the wage would rise in accordance with the consumer price index, but capped at 3% a year.
The ordinance also permits a "learner's wage" of no less than 85% of the minimum wage for up to the first 160 hours of work for an employee at a new job.
It would be enforced by a third-party contractor, likely the city of San Jose, at an estimated cost of $54,000 a year, according to staff.
The council also discussed the possibility of allowing an interim step for small businesses, but ultimately abandoned the idea.
Councilman Drew Combs explained that while he hasn't run a small business before, he was comfortable with setting $15 an hour as the "minimum value of labor that should be offered in our community that a business would pay."
Anna Chow, co-owner of Cheeky Monkey Toys, said that the change would create challenges for her business by creating up to a 35% increase in pay for employees currently earning under $15 an hour, with only about three months to plan. The current hourly minimum wage for small businesses is $11 and $12 for larger businesses under state law.
Currently, Chow added, the only employees at Cheeky Monkey earning under $15 an hour are students working part time. Other expenses, such as workers' compensation and tariffs, also add to the pressures the business is experiencing, she added.
In response, Combs said: "I hear you and I hear your concerns. They're valid. We are playing catch up here."
A number of Bay Area cities now have local minimum wage ordinances. Emeryville currently has the highest minimum wage in the region, at $16.30 an hour. Others are Mountain View and Sunnyvale at $15.65 an hour, San Francisco at $15.59 an hour, and Palo Alto, San Mateo and Los Altos at $15 an hour. Redwood City's and Belmont's minimum wage is currently set at $13.50, with plans to increase it to $15 an hour on Jan. 1, according to KQED news.
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