RELEASE: San Francisco’s Proposed City Minimum Wage Law: A Prospective Impact Study

Press Release

August 27, 2014
Ken Jacobs, 510-643-2621,
Michael Reich, 510-643-7079,

142,000 San Francisco Workers Would Get a Pay Raise From Minimum Wage Ballot Measure

November Ballot Measure to Raise the Minimum Wage Expected to Increase Earnings by $397 Million, Significantly Benefitting Working Families, Women, and Communities of Color

BERKELEY—A new report released by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment finds that an upcoming San Francisco ballot measure to raise the minimum wage would significantly benefit workers in the city and strengthen the local economy.

San Francisco’s Mayor, members of the Board of Supervisors, and labor, business and community leaders recently agreed to place an initiative on the November 2014 ballot. The measure would increase the city’s minimum wage to $15.00 by 2018, with cost-of-living increases thereafter. Oakland will also vote in November to raise its minimum wage to $12.25 by 2015.

The study finds that about 142,000 workers, or approximately 23 percent of San Francisco’s workforce, will receive a raise under the proposed law. Pay for those workers would rise by an average of $2,800 per year, for a total increase in aggregate earnings of $397 million (in 2014 dollars) by 2018.

These pay increases would especially benefit workers of color and women. For example, 26 percent of female workers will receive a raise and 71 percent of workers who would be affected by the proposed increase are people of color. Incomes will increase for over three-fourths of working-poor families.

San Francisco’s 2003 citywide minimum wage ordinance had little effect on overall employment or hours worked, the research shows, and the costs of the minimum-wage law were absorbed through increased worker productivity, decreased turnover, and small, one-time increases in restaurant prices. Projections for the proposed law suggest that prices in restaurants would increase by 2.7 percent by 2018.

“A citywide minimum wage can help make the economy more equitable without harming economic growth,” said Michael Reich, a UC Berkeley professor and Director of the institute that produced the study. “That’s more money in low-wage workers’ pockets for a healthier city and a fairer economy.”

The full report can be found online.