In July 2016, Santa Monica enacted two minimum wage ordinances, one specific to hotel workers (the “Hotel Workers Living Wage Ordinance”), and the other to any employees of an employer in Santa Monica (“Minimum Wage Ordinance”). The hotel worker minimum wage is currently $15.66 per hour; the minimum wage for employees covered by the other ordinance is currently $12 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees and $10 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees. Both are scheduled to rise in July 2018 (for hotel workers indexed to inflation, for other employees to $13.25 and $12.00, respectively).

Late last year, the City of Santa Monica announced its first conviction for a violation of the minimum wage ordinances, a hotel-based retail that entered “no contest” pleas to three misdemeanor counts of failing to pay the required minimum wage and one count of unlawful retaliation. The plea agreement calls for 36 months of probation, the payment of $11,000 in back wages plus $3,000 to compensate the City for its investigation costs, and 150 hours of community service.

What does this mean for you? It is imperative that all employers, especially those in the hospitality industry, stay up to date with ever-changing local minimum wage requirements.

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