Covered Employer Responsibilities Include
The minimum wage rate for the City of Palo Alto is $15.00 per hour as of January 1, 2019.
Minimum wage posters are available
On September 26, 2016 the Council approved an increase to the 2016 minimum wage of $11 per hour to $12 per hour effective January 1, 2017, $13.50 per hour effective January 1, 2018 and $15 per hour effective January 1, 2019. The minimum wage requirement set forth in Palo Alto’s Minimum Wage Ordinance applies to all employees who work two (2) hours per week within Palo Alto. Each year after 2019 the City will adjust the minimum wage based on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Regional Consumer Price Index.
Palo Alto Minimum Wage Ordinance Basics
The 2018 minimum wage rate is $13.50 per hour. The 2019 minimum wage rate is $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2019. The minimum wage rate is adjusted each January. Covered employers must pay the hourly minimum wage rate to each employee who performs two (2) hours or more of work per week in Palo Alto.
- Post official Palo Alto Wage Bulletin in workplace informing employees of current minimum wage rate and their rights.
- Document all hours worked by employees and keep records for four (4) years.
- It is unlawful to discriminate in any manner or take adverse action against any person in retaliation for exercising their rights protected under the Ordinance.
- Provide each employee at time of hire with employer’s name, address and telephone number.
2019 Official Minimum Wage Employer Posters and Employee Know Your Rights Posters
Employers must post where information is accessible by employees.
Download the posters: Poster in English | Poster in Spanish
Contact for Information and Reporting
Palo Alto contracts with the City of San Jose for minimum wage compliance.
San Jose Compliance Officer: 408-535-8430
Palo Alto Contact Information
It is against the law for an employer to discriminate or take adverse action against an employee for exercising their rights under the Ordinance.
All claims will be managed in the San Jose Office of Equity of Assurance.
- What is the City of Palo Alto’s Minimum Wage Ordinance?
The City Council approved the ordinance to create a local minimum wage, and it requires Palo Alto employers to pay any employee the City’s Minimum Wage for all hours worked in Palo Alto. The City’s minimum wage is $15.00 per hour as of January 1, 2019. The Minimum Wage Ordinance can be found here.
- When did the ordinance go into effect?
The Local Minimum Wage Ordinance went into effect on January 1, 2016.
- What is the new City minimum wage rate?
The 2019 minimum wage rate is $15.00 per hour starting January 1, 2019.
- How is the Palo Alto Minimum Wage adjusted?
The City's Minimum Wage will increase to $13.50 per hour on January 1, 2018, and $15 per hour on January 1, 2019. Starting in 2019, the City will adjust the minimum wage each January 1 based on the Bay Area Consumer Index as published by the U.S. Department of Labor.
- What are the administrative requirements for covered employers under the Minimum Wage Ordinance?
In addition to payment of the minimum wage, employers are required to:
1. Post a notice published by the City at the workplace informing employees of the law and the employees’ rights under the Ordinance; and,
2. Maintain payroll records for a period of four (4) years.
- Does the Minimum Wage Ordinance cover employees who work in Palo Alto, but are not Palo Alto residents?
Yes. Employees are only entitled to be paid the Palo Alto minimum wage for those hours worked in Palo Alto.
- Does the Palo Alto minimum wage apply to both full and part-time employees?
Yes, the approved ordinance applies to any person who performs at least two (2) hours of work in any particular week.
- Can employers use tips or fringe benefits (health insurance, vacation, sick leave) to pay the Palo Alto Minimum Wage?
No. An employer may not use an employee’s tips or fringe benefits as a credit towards the employer’s obligation to pay the City minimum wage.
- Does the minimum wage apply to employees under the age of 18?
Yes. All employees who perform at least two (2) hours of work per week must be paid at least $13.50 per hour for work performed in Palo Alto regardless of age.
- Does the Palo Alto Minimum Wage Ordinance apply to undocumented workers?
Minimum wage claims will be processed and investigated without regard to a worker’s immigration status. Workers filing a claim will not be questioned about their immigration status.
- My business is a family run business. Do I need to pay my parent, spouse or child the Palo Alto minimum wage?
No. Consistent with California Labor Code Section 3352(a), individuals who are the parents, spouses or children of the employers are not covered by the Palo Alto minimum wage. Domestic partners are also excluded under the Palo Alto minimum wage Ordinance.
- Are residential care facilities located in Palo Alto required to pay the Palo Alto minimum wage?
Yes. All residential care facilities, regardless of number or type of occupant, are required to pay local minimum wage to employees when located in Palo Alto.
- My company is not located in Palo Alto, but I have employees who work in Palo Alto.
Do I have to pay all of my employees the Palo Alto minimum wage?
No, the Palo Alto minimum wage only applies to those employees who work in Palo Alto and only for those hours worked in Palo Alto.
- Can an employee agree to work for less than the Palo Alto minimum wage?
No, except through a bona fide collective bargaining agreement.
- What are the penalties for violation of the Palo Alto minimum wage?
The City may issue daily fines currently set at $50 or initiate a legal action for injunctive relief and damages. Employees may also bring a civil action for back payment and daily penalties of $50, reinstatement in employment and/or injunctive relief.
- Where is the City of Palo Alto Minimum Wage Applied
The City of Palo Alto minimum wage is applied in the jurisdictional boundary of the City of Palo Alto. A map of the city boundary can be found, here: City of Palo Alto Boundaries
Last Updated: Jan 3, 2019