The Northern California city of Palo Alto decided this week that it couldn’t wait until 2022 to require a $15 hourly wage from restaurants and other employers, voting to adopt the figure as the legal minimum as of 2019.
The measure was seen as a compromise of sorts between labor advocates, who wanted that minimum adopted by 2018, and the business community.
A measure sought by restaurateurs to exempt tipped servers from the new pay requirement was not included in the measure approved by the Silicon Valley city. The restaurateurs had argued that the concession was needed to avoid widening a pay gap between front-of-the-house and kitchen employees.
California does not have a tip credit. Restaurateurs there say they are struggling to fill kitchen jobs because server positions pay so much more. A waiter or waitress is entitled to the full minimum wage, plus whatever they make in tips.
A law passed earlier this year will raise the statewide minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022 for businesses with more than 26 employees, and by 2023 for smaller concerns.