Finance Department
Finance Department

City of Berkeley Living Wage Ordinance

The City of Berkeley's Living Wage Ordinance (LWO: see BMC Chapter 13.27) was enacted June 21, 2000. The purpose of this ordinance is to ensure that businesses in a contractual relationship with the City pay their employees a wage that can support a family at, or above, the poverty level. Businesses located in Berkeley, but not doing business with the City, (with the exception of  businesses in the Marina District), are not required to comply with the LWO. (see note, below, on BMC access)

Current dollar limits of the Living Wage Ordinance

Effective June 30, 2014, the current living wage is $13.71 per hour plus a medical benefit equivalent to at least $2.28 per hour. If the employer does not provide the employee at least $2.28 per hour toward an employee medical benefits plan, the employer shall pay an hourly wage of not less than $15.99. If an employer pays for health coverage and an employee elects not to receive coverage, the employer is permitted to pay the lower hourly rate.  If the employer provides health coverage at a value less than $2.28 an hour, it must add the difference between the health coverage provided and $2.28 per hour to the hourly wage rate.

Wages are adjusted annually according to the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers in the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose area, as published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Adjusted wages are effective June 30th of each year.

Other employee benefits specified in the LWO

Employees must be entitled to at least 22 days off per year for sick leave, vacation, or personal necessity: 12 of these required 22 days off must be compensated at the same wage as for a normal working day; 10 of these 22 days may be uncompensated days off. Paid holidays, consistent with established employer policy, may be counted toward provision of the required 12 compensated days off.

The LWO Covers:

Businesses

  1. For-Profit Service Providers providing services valued at $25,000 or more in a 12-month period that have 6 or more employees. 
  2. Not-for-Profit Service Providers providing services valued at $100,000 or more in a 12-month period that have 6 or more employees.
  3. Lessees, licensees, concessionaries and franchises of City-owned property, which generate $350,000 or more in annual gross receipts and employ 6 or more employees, regardless of rent paid.
  4. Financial Aid Recipients receiving more than $100,000 in economic financial aide in  any 12-month period.
  5. Entities within the boundaries of the Marina Zone that generate $350,000 or more in annual gross receipts and employ 6 or more employees.

Employees of ...

  1. For-Profit, Service Providers working 25% or more of their compensated time engaged in work directly related to City-contract/s.
  2. Not-for-Profit Service Providers working 50% or more of their compensated time engaged in work directly related to City-contract/s.
  3. Lessees who spend more than 25% of their time on the leased premises.
  4. Financial Aid Recipients who spend more than 25% of their compensated time engaged in work directly related to the purpose for which the City provided the aid.
  5. Subcontractor or a covered for-profit or non-profit employer who meets the same time spent on contact as primary contractor.
  6. Entity within the boundaries of the Marina Zone who spends 25% or more of their compensated time in the Marina Zone.

The LWO Does NOT Cover:

  1. An employee participating in a temporary job-training program
  2. An employee under 18 years of age, employed by a non-profit entity for after school or summer employment or as a trainee for a period not longer than 120 days.
  3. An employee working for the employer for a period not exceeding 6 months in aggregate during any 12- month period.
  4. Volunteers.
  5. Employees of contractors on City public works projects subject to the requirements of Division 2, Part 7, of the California Labor Code, when said code requires compensation greater than that required by this chapter.
  6. Employees who are standing by or on-call according to the criteria established by the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. Section 201. This exemption shall apply only during the time when the employee is actually standing by or on-call.
  7. An employee for whom application of the requirements of this chapter is prohibited by state or federal law.
  8. An employee subject to a bona fide collective bargaining agreement where the waiver of the provisions of this chapter are set forth in clear and unambiguous terms in such an agreement.
  9. Employees of goods suppliers such as office supplies etc.

Related Links

Note: For access to the Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC), links will take you to the City’s BMC site where you can browse the BMC in .pdf format, or search the BMC using Records Online. Search tips are available from the BMC site.  

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Finance Department, 1947 Center Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: finance@cityofberkeley.info Phone: (510) 981-7200
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903
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