At a time when the federal government is putting cash in the hands of Americans in order to prop up a national economy wrecked by covid-19, the Hayward City Council is poised on Tuesday night to take some out of its resident’s pockets.
Two weeks ago, the council voted to direct staff to study a referral proposing to delay implementation of a new ordinance that accelerates the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour for large businesses by six months
The wage bump unanimously approved by the council on Feb. 4, raised Hayward’s minimum wage from $13 an hour to $15 for businesses with more than 25 employees. The increase was set for July 1. The minimum wage for employees at smaller companies would also increase to $14 an hour on July 1. Under the proposal, the city’s minimum wage would not increase until Jan. 1, 2021.
The referral was brought to the council on Mar. 24 by Councilmembers Mark Salinas, Elisa Marquez, and Al Mendall.
“The delaying of the start of the Local Minimum Wage will allow Hayward businesses additional time to recover from the extended closures and the significant economic loses many are experiencing,” according to a city staff report.
The delay, according to city staff, would save business owners roughly $3,850 per employee through the end of the year.
Other considerations for struggling small businesses in Hayward have already been offered. Last week, the city announced it would provide more than 70 grants worth $5,000 apiece to local businesses. The state and federal government has also announced loan programs for small businesses.
In addition, the Hayward City Council on Tuesday night will also add protections for commercial renters who may be evicted due to non-payment of rent because of the covid-19 crisis.
Hayward’s minimum wage, set in line with the state’s schedule toward achieving $15 an hour by 2022, is currently $13 an hour for large businesses, and $12 an hour for smaller businesses.
But in recent days, business groups across the state have began lobbying Gov. Gavin Newsom to delay the state’s schedule for increasing the minimum wage. The schedule was first implemented in 2016 by former Gov. Jerry Brown.
Newsom, however, has sidestepped questions about whether he would trigger a so-called “fail-safe” for suspending the law during occasions of great economic despair like the covid-19 crisis.