News

Menlo Park: Minimum wage ordinance approved

$15 an hour for workers in Menlo Park to be required beginning Jan. 1

Starting on Jan. 1, workers in Menlo Park must be paid a minimum of $15 an hour, following a 4-0-1 vote on Sept. 10 by the Menlo Park City Council to enact a citywide minimum wage ordinance.

City Councilwoman Catherine Carlton abstained from the vote, saying that although she supports raising the minimum wage, she wants the city to "be more gentle" in giving businesses more time to adapt to a higher minimum.

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, up to 3% a year.

The council also discussed the possibility of having 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. 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."

Editor's Note: Correction: A previous version of this story said the minimum wage would rise up to 3.5% in accordance with the consumer price index. The increase was capped at 3%.

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Comments

3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Park Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 11, 2019 at 12:40 pm

Although this minimum wage law is well intended, it will have the unintended side effect of eliminating many entry level and / or part time jobs. Is this really a net benefit to the community? This is exactly why fast food restaurants are starting to use ordering kiosks, etc- it’s cheaper to reduce staff and automate. A business must manage costs in order to stay viable, so there go the jobs.


6 people like this
Posted by living wages
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 11, 2019 at 1:15 pm

> it will have the unintended side effect of eliminating many entry level and / or part time jobs.

That canard doesn't fly in the face of local costs of living.

> This is exactly why fast food restaurants are starting to use ordering kiosks

Would be happening anyway, whether minimum wage is $15, or $8.


8 people like this
Posted by West Menlo
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 11, 2019 at 2:02 pm

Regardless of cost of living, entry level and part time jobs will go away, as they have in virtually ever other place in the country that has instituted these job-destroying mandates.
Automation happens anyway, and is sped up by high minimum wages. It’s basic economics.
So, we make it tougher for kids to learn job skills and discipline, make it tougher for part time and entry level employees by businesses having to reduce headcount.
Yet another stupid mandate (see electricity-only mandate for new commercial construction) from our increasingly socialistic totalitarian City Council. They’re almost as bad as the morons in Berkeley. Seems as if no one on the council believes in the free market and freedom of choice. I didn’t realize they were elected to make these kinds of decisions for their constituents. What’s next? Are they going to tell me what food to eat or what car to drive? At this point, nothing these people do would surprise me.


10 people like this
Posted by living wages
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 11, 2019 at 2:21 pm

> Regardless of cost of living, entry level and part time jobs will go away, as they have in virtually ever other place in the country

Every other place? Nope. There's data on both sides. Certainly a lot of data on the improvements in the lives of the worker's families, improvements for local economies, etc..

But you support a wage that keeps Americans below the poverty level, so why bother reading facts, amiright? One notes you quickly morph to name-calling ('morons',) and rambling off-topic (construction, cars, etc..)


5 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 11, 2019 at 4:12 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

What do you tell little miss priss who tells an employer she will work for pennies just to prove her worth? Sorry missy, the gum'nt says I can't do that.

Why not let the market decide. Leave charity to individuals.

If individuals can earn a living wage, fine. If not, they will naturally form a collective for their common good. Government interferes with a natural continuum. Each step up the ladder should require a reasonable effort. Government, as we know it, bastardizes that continuum.


10 people like this
Posted by living wages
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 11, 2019 at 4:21 pm

> What do you tell little miss priss who tells an employer she will work for pennies just to prove her worth? Sorry missy...

Ignoring the 1950's attitude, for a moment, Jack provides an interesting take on why Americans should work just to live in poverty - 'little miss priss will work for pennies'. Wow. A more interesting comeback from Jack though...

> form a collective for their common good

Agreed. Unions, with sectional bargaining are the best answer. No need for a minimum wage when a sector such as home healthcare workers across the country can demand a living wage along with reasonable working conditions.

Thanks, Jack!


3 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 11, 2019 at 4:32 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

"Unions, with sectional bargaining are the best answer. No need for a minimum wage when a sector such as home healthcare workers across the country can demand a living wage along with reasonable working conditions."

And, they can train and "certify" their members to validate their worth. Sounds like a plan!

Or, maybe "living wages" prefers to have the government provide the certification process. That's the socialist solution.


10 people like this
Posted by living wages
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 11, 2019 at 4:41 pm

Government protection for American working families? Absolutely. Time to rescind all these regulations that enrich corporations at the expense of working Americans.

Jack would rather insure the profitability of international corporations. Amazon, Apple and Google not profitable enough for you, Jack?


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 11, 2019 at 5:39 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Don't trust the unions to train and certify their members? Oh ye of little faith.


24 people like this
Posted by living wages
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 11, 2019 at 5:42 pm

I do. Your straw-man game is impeccable, however. Try going back to the topic.


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo mom
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Sep 11, 2019 at 6:18 pm

I guess I’m confused. If the argument FOR raising the minimum wage is to pay people a “living wage”, then why does it start with people only working two hours a week...at a minimum wage job? Anyone whose working two hours (or five hours...or even ten hours) at a minimum wage job is either (a) supplementing whatever the household main earner is making, even if they are the main earner at a different job, (b) using the job for what my grandmother would call “pin money” to have a little extra fun with, or (c) a teenager. What they are not doing while working two hours a week at a minimum wage job is paying the rent. So what is the rationale to not having a minimum number of hours worked in order to qualify for the higher pay rate? Why not help those who really need it while still helping the small business owners?


11 people like this
Posted by Loopholes
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 11, 2019 at 6:44 pm

Because if you make minimum wage applicable only to those who work ten hours, an employer can hire more employees and offer fewer than ten hours to each employee, creating a loophole to the legislation.

Carlton’s argument regarding babysitters and dog walkers is a red herring because the law applies only to businesses with business licenses.

Carlton is a Republican and she can tell her base she didn’t vote for the minimum wage, while at the same time tell others she would have supported but for...pick the asterisk reason.


1 person likes this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 11, 2019 at 6:45 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

The basic premise that a minimum wage law is good for society is flawed. The establishment of a minimum wage law disrupts the natural, healthy continuum which a market driven system would produce.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo mom
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Sep 11, 2019 at 6:55 pm

@Loop Holes are you saying that those working ten hours a week don’t fit in the categories that I mentioned above? Here they are, working ten hours a week at a minimum wage job, and they’re paying the rent as the main breadwinner? It makes no sense. Ten or even fifteen hours a week seems like a good cut off to me. So they cut their hours at nine. At least the employer has a better chance at staying in business and therefore continuing to hire people.

And I totally agree about Carlton. What a disappointment. You’re not elected to just watch.


9 people like this
Posted by Loophole
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 11, 2019 at 7:36 pm

You still don’t get it Menlo Mom.

If the ordinance were written with a ten hour exception,
employers could only offer employees less than ten hours a week, to skirt the law. Employers control how many hours a week are offered employees right?

I agree it would be impossible to support oneself on less than ten hour of work a week. That is why the ordinance would be terrible if it allowed that loophole. It would incentivize only hiring a employee for ten hours a week, and hiring multiple employees that way.


18 people like this
Posted by Von K
a resident of Atherton: other
on Sep 12, 2019 at 12:52 am

The whiners never propose a solution. Whine moan groan.

And this guy talking about "the natural, healthy continuum" is not on his rocker, he's off... nevermind.


1 person likes this
Posted by EITC
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Sep 12, 2019 at 7:32 am

@Von K
The better solution is increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) rather than increasing the minimum wage. EITC is much better at targeting funds to address people who are most impoverished or support a larger household on limited means because it looks at one's entire yearly income and household size. Both Democrats and Republicans both favor EITCs. And so do economists as the much preferred anti-poverty solution over higher minimum wages.

The higher minimum wage causes many unintended consequences, such as raising the local cost of living. When the cost of living rises, it erodes the value of the higher wage and bank savings.


Like this comment
Posted by menlo mom
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Sep 12, 2019 at 3:31 pm

menlo mom is a registered user.

Addressing @Loop Hole’s last comment: I understand your point about employers dropping employees hours to under the threshold to skirt the new law. Is this the scenario you’re suggestions: Employee A is currently working 40hrs/week, but due to new law employer drops him down to 9.5 hrs, then hires three more employees at 9.5hrs each to compensate? Or is it Employee B, who works 30hrs/week, so now the employer needs to hire 2 more employees? With the tight labor market (particularly with minimum wage jobs in our area....we’ve all see the help wanted signs), I really don’t see small companies (such as Cheeky Monkey, or the various yogurt stops) doubling, tripling, or quadrupling their workforce. The employees who I see being dropped to under ten hours a week (if that were the threshold) are those who only work 15-20 hours prior to the new law. And I have no data to back this up, but I have a feeling that’s the bulk of the minimum wage earners in our town (think Starbucks, Cold Stone, etc). So MY point is...don’t call it a “living wage” issue if you’re including this group. That is blatantly dishonest.

I agree with those above who warn of unintended consequences. Our family continually bemoans the lack of a family restaurant in Menlo Park (remember when we had a Chili’s? It may not have been great food, but you could take a family of five out for dinner on a Tuesday night without breaking the bank). If we continue to place more stress on the small, locally run businesses, everything affordable will be gone, and all that will be left are those places that can charge enough to cover the high rent and high wages. (Good bye old BBC, hello new BBC)


4 people like this
Posted by living wages
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 12, 2019 at 4:01 pm

Thanks, Mnelo Mom.

Clearly, saving a few dollars (and it's only a few) on your Tuesday family dinner OUT for five is more import than a living wage for working families in our community.

Glad we cleared that up - priorities, people!


Like this comment
Posted by menlo mom
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Sep 12, 2019 at 4:37 pm

menlo mom is a registered user.

@living wage....I’m not really seeing your point. You are so right...my family is incredibly blessed, we have food on the table and the opportunity to eat out. But if I’m worried about the high costs around here, and I’m not just referring to dinner, but any business that has a storefront and employees, then I can only imagine what struggling families are going through. And paying my 16 year old, who works 15 hours a week at Cold Stone an extra $2-3/hour may make it more difficult for them. Don’t forget, when you raise the wage, the employer also pays more payroll tax. So it’s a larger increase than just the $2 or $3 for them.

I’m not in favor of a national minimum wage of $15, because every locale has different needs. (Why would our minimum wage be the same as somewhere you can rent an apartment for $400/month?) BUT if there’s any place in the country that can justify a $15 minimum wage, it’s here! I get that logic. But I don’t agree that it should be across the board. If it’s a “living wage” let’s give it to those people who are trying to live on their wages: those working 30-40 hours a week. If you’re worried that employers will try to skirt that by decreasing employees hours, then drop the threshold down to 20 or 15. My premise is that , anyone working a minimum wage job for less than 30 hours a week is not working that job to live off of.

I admit I may be wrong. Convince me. (I’d prefer if you left the snark out though. I listen better that way.)


Like this comment
Posted by No Easy Solutions
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 12, 2019 at 5:23 pm

Its the high rent and low foot traffic that is hurting retail in downtown Menlo Park. The $15/hr min wage will probably push businesses that are barely getting by to the brink faster. The state min wage is going up to $12/hr on Jan 2020.

Other business will absorb the cost and pass it along to consumers who will pay or avoid the business. Starting the cycle over again.


10 people like this
Posted by Peter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 12, 2019 at 8:18 pm

Towns with a $15 ordinance have faster economic growth.

Everyone wins.


Like this comment
Posted by well, duh
a resident of Ormondale School
on Sep 12, 2019 at 8:50 pm

Of course a higher wage increases economic activity. All the fear mongering above is just folks wanting to pull the ladder up behind them. Bloomberg:

"The latest reminder comes in a new research paper by Doruk Cengiz, Arindrajit Dube, Attila Lindner and Ben Zipperer that looks at data during the period from 1979 to 2016 in 138 U.S. states and regions where minimum pay was increased. The conclusion is that low-wage workers had a pay gain of 7 percent after a minimum-wage law was enacted, but there was little or no change in employment."


Like this comment
Posted by Sick of it all
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Hills
on Sep 12, 2019 at 9:58 pm

There is so much dumb here. So much.


12 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 12, 2019 at 10:07 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"There is so much dumb here. So much."

Care to be specific or are you just here to throw grenades? Love to hear what you think is "dumb".


4 people like this
Posted by menlo mom
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Sep 13, 2019 at 5:39 am

menlo mom is a registered user.

@well duh “All the fear mongering above is just folks wanting to pull the ladder up behind them.” It’s not fear mongering. It’s a legitimate concern that the policy may hurt the very people it’s intending to help by eliminating some jobs, and also changing the vibe of our town by forcing small businesses to close. Pulling up the ladder? Why would anyone want to intentionally screw over those that are working the hardest to make ends meet? Ignoring the moral implications, that’s in no one’s best interest. The debate is whether this is the best method to accomplish this goal.

But let’s take a look at your statistic. “The conclusion is that low-wage workers had a pay gain of 7 percent after a minimum-wage law was enacted, but there was little or no change in employment." Currently the minimum wage for small businesses is $11, and $12 for larger businesses. A 7% raise would be $0.77 and $0.84 respectively. Bringing it up to $15 (a raise of $4 or $3) is a 36% increase for small businesses. That is a VERY different thing than a 7% raise. Not to mention by having the same rate for both small and large businesses, that’s a bigger jump and therefore harder hit for the small businesses.

And the argument hat raising the minimum wage increases economic activity, that implies that the minimum wage earners are spending their money in that same town (notice your statistic mentions “state or region” which would make much more sense.)

I’m still looking for a rebuttal on not having any kind of bottom threshold on the law.


Like this comment
Posted by West Menlo
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 13, 2019 at 7:46 am

@menlo mom Living wages is not being snarky. It’s called “virtue shaming” and it’s a wonderful tactic to put others in their place by showing how virtuous, generous, compassionate and truly bleeding heart they are versus people like you who obviously don’t care about the “little people”. It’s what happens when they run out of logical arguments and resort to emotion.

You have asked some great questions and stated your position well. I happen to agree that employers won’t try to reduce their payroll by cutting their employees to 9.5 hours and hiring 3 more people to make up the difference. There are not enough applicants and workers, and the time to interview, train and manage aren’t worth it. This will have an impact on small business, and our little town will become a bit more expensive and a bit more exclusive as a result. Unintended consequences indeed!!


10 people like this
Posted by well, duh
a resident of Ormondale School
on Sep 13, 2019 at 8:19 am

> Why would anyone want to intentionally screw over those that are working the hardest to make ends meet?

Answers above:
- Mom not wanting to pay $2 more on her dinner for five on a Tuesday
- West: " our little town will become a bit more expensive"

My fav tho: "implies that the minimum wage earners are spending their money in that same town"

Absolutely - those min wage fat cats send their money out of town every time they buy a second yacht. This kind of abuse must stop.

So y'all keep arguing some obtuse fine points (ten hours, teenagers vs adults, size of business, etc..) while working families suffer.

Finally to the poster above: virtuous, generous, compassionate and truly bleeding heart

Yes. Yes. Yes. Supporting working families IS a moral issue - “The workman is worthy of his hire.”


2 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 13, 2019 at 9:07 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

menlo mom said:

"I’m still looking for a rebuttal on not having any kind of bottom threshold on the law."

So am I. Why does the law exist at all? Where are the tutorials justifying it's existance?

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by menlo mom
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Sep 13, 2019 at 9:36 am

menlo mom is a registered user.

@well, duh: So you’re saying that the minimum wage earners ARE spending their money in Menlo Park? But we shouldn’t care if there are no inexpensive options? I think you need to pick a side on that one.

You seem to be so certain that those on the other side of the argument are immoral human beings who kick puppies in their spare time, that you misconstrued my comment about minimum wage earners spending their money in Menlo Park, by implying that I don’t want them to spend their money here? I guess?...I’m not really sure what your point is. My point was that I believe that the bulk of those who are working minimum wage jobs for 30hr/week or more, and using that money to support their household (i.e. those who need a living wage) don’t actually live in Menlo Park. Do some? Sure. Do most? No. Why do I say this? I talk to many. I ask questions. I start up conversations. Do they deserve higher pay so they can pay for the gas needed to drive up from San Jose? Maybe, but that’s a different argument. But are they clocking out then sticking around Menlo Park to grab food (no...they pack a lunch) or go shopping, or get a haircut? I doubt it. So the argument of raising the minimum wage by 35% will improve the local economy fails on multiple levels.

@West Menlo: thank you for the validation. I’m getting tired of the virtue signaling. “You don’t agree with me, therefore you must be racist, evil, exporting your garbage to the Amazon, and would stab your grandma it’d earn you a buck.”

The law was passed, and since I live in unincorporated Menlo, I can’t vote for (or against) the council members, I guess I’ll sit back, cross my fingers, and hope this helps those that it is intending to help, with a minimum of fallout. Unless someone who’s in favor of the wage increase with virtually no lower threshold wants to address my assertion that a $10 or even $15 lower threshold would have been great compromise, I’m signing out.


2 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 13, 2019 at 12:06 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Every individual should be encouraged to get in touch with their own true worth, and strive for betterment. A newborn baby has worth bestowed upon it by loving parents who provide for it.(worth keeping, a keeper, etc.) As that child progresses, it becomes aware of it's own worth.

Our socialist leaning government tempts individuals to declare themselves "worthless" so they might lay claim to monthly disability stipends, food stamps, free medical care, free cell phones, etc. These are called "entitlements". Unknowingly, these individuals are accepting a "lesser" title than that with which they were born. Many who have fallen into this trap are now "gaming the system" and milking it dry. They may never discover their true worth.

The Minimum Wage Law decrees that those whose current self worth is less than the minimum are "worthless". It is morally indefensible.


14 people like this
Posted by Conna
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 13, 2019 at 12:45 pm

I'm horrified at the nit picking over $15 an hour, and the comment that one used to be able to take the family out to eat at Chili's and not "break the bank." Why didn't it break the bank? Because it broke the servers/workers backs instead, so you could eat cheaply. Look behind the scenes at most restaurants. See that bicycle locked to the back wall? That's how your waitress got to work. Notice how exhausted the bus boy was? He works 3 of these jobs with no benefits because the wages are so low. How many live in San Francisquito Creek now, and wash up in the work bathroom? See it from the other side for a change!


2 people like this
Posted by well, duh
a resident of Ormondale School
on Sep 13, 2019 at 1:03 pm

> that implies that the minimum wage earners are spending their money in that same town
> But are they clocking out then sticking around Menlo Park

Folks from University Heights don't get across the freeway much? Shocking.

>So the argument of raising the minimum wage by 35% will improve the local economy fails on multiple levels.

In your mind, certainly. Your argument is clear: paying a couple bucks more for a party of five in a local diner is abhorrent.

In reality, a $15 minimum wage improves local economies, and the lives of countless working families.

> Unless someone who’s in favor of the wage increase with virtually no lower threshold

Why? It's a non-starter, supported only by fringe libertarians. Most of corporate America understands it's a joke idea from the far fringe. Example: see Jack Hickey's links to Cato, which was founded with Koch money.


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 13, 2019 at 2:16 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

well,duh, at least you followed the CATO link. Now you can't plead ignorance.


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