Hayward delays minimum wage increases a year because of coronavirus impact on businesses

City officials decide implementing wage jump in July would burden small business owners

By Peter Hegarty | March 25, 2020

Because of the economic hardship the coronavirus pandemic is wreaking on businesses, the Hayward City Council has decided against forcing employers to raise the minimum hourly wage to $15 on July 1.

At its meeting Tuesday night, the council agreed that asking business owners to pay more in salaries when they’re struggling to operate will just make things worse.

The council directed staff to return April 21 with a revised minimum wage ordinance that postpones the raises a year to July 1, 2021.

Some cities in Alameda County already have adopted minimum wage ordinances ahead of the state deadline of 2023.

The minimum wage in Alameda is now $13.50 per hour and will jump to $15 by this July, while in Berkeley it’s $15.59 and in Emeryville $16.30.

The wage in Fremont ranges from $11 to $13.50 depending on a business’ number of employees, and will rise to $15 for everyone by 2021. In Oakland, it’s $13.80 and in San Leandro $14.

According to a city of Hayward report, there are an estimated 23,814 minimum wage jobs in the city, about 5,116 of them filled by Hayward residents.

“I absolutely understand where the desire for $15 comes from and I absolutely acknowledge that that’s not a living wage in the Bay Area, especially as housing costs are astronomical,” Councilwoman Sara Sara Laminin said before Tuesday’s vote. “There’s a lot to that complexity. None of that was helped by COVID (19). It also was not created by COVID (19).”

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