Is San Francisco’s New Wage Rate Really a Blessing?

Workers in San Francisco  have what to celebrate this New Year’s: a new raise!

Starting January 1st, the city’s minimum wage will increase to $10.24 per hour. This is the highest rate in the entire country, and San Francisco is now the first place in the United States to issue double-digit wages for its lowest-paid employees.

Many people are thrilled with the news. Ace Wiseman, for example, is a 27-year-old graduate of San Francisco State University. He currently waits table for a living in a pizzeria, for minimum pay. The raise, from $9.92 an hour, may give him some of the extra help he needs.

“It’ll be nice…It all adds up,” he said. “I need a second job to start paying off student loans.”

Still, employers throughout the city are concerned by the new mandate. The former $9.92 hourly wage was already significantly higher than the California minimum of $8, and the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. Small businesses have stated that the new rate, alongside other expensive city mandates, may force them to decrease their staff.

Daniel Scherotter, the executive chef and owner of Palio D’Asti, an Italian restaurant in the financial distrit, explained: “It makes these jobs so high-paying that they disappear. It’s hurting the people its trying to help.”

He added that wage increases have forced him to cut his staff by eight people over the last five years, as well as to move his pastry production outside the city’s jurisdiction.

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