Oakland's minimum wage gets big hike starting Monday

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Sunday, March 1, 2015
Cafe worker

OAKLAND, (KGO) -- Low-wage workers in Oakland are getting a raise starting on Monday. The current $9 an hour minimum wage will increase nearly 36 percent to $12.25 an hour. It will be the highest minimum wage in the Bay Area.

While workers applaud the move, some businesses and restaurants say the increase will force them to raise prices, hire fewer workers, or give their employees fewer hours.

Some restaurants will switch to a 20 percent service charge in lieu of a tip, with part of the fee going towards the restaurant's revenue.

It's already being tested by some restaurants in the Uptown and Rockridge districts.

Eighty-two percent of Oakland voters approved the wage increase last November. That includes Sal Bednarz, owner of Actual Caf on San Pablo Ave, who backed the measure even though his payroll will jump by 15 percent and he will have to raise prices.

"The costs are going up because it is necessary that they go up because it is necessary that we treat our workers fairly," he said. "Eighty-two percent of voters voted for this measure. Hopefully 82 percent of those voters will come with us and spend a little bit more on their meals."

The minimum wage law also gives Oakland workers up to nine paid sick days a year.