REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION
Since the Board’s May 20th, 2014 referral to Administration to develop a County Living Wage Ordinance, the Administration has engaged collaborators from across county departments, researched living wage ordinances and policies in other jurisdictions, and gathered stakeholder and community input to formulate the draft ordinance and Board Policy Resolution included with this legislative file. (See accompanying legislative file and attached reports related to stakeholder engagement for the development of a County Living Wage Ordinance.)
The draft ordinance codifies the recommended policy position of the County related to Living Wage; specifically, that employers with County service contracts must pay a living wage to workers for work performed under those contracts; that those workers should be provided with (or able to afford) health insurance and retirement benefits; have reasonable time off; be able to serve on a jury; and should work in an environment of labor peace.
The draft ordinance further states that the living wage provisions will include components relating to notice of work schedules, worker retention, fair-chance hiring, and prohibitions on employer retaliation. The draft ordinance also indicates that the purpose of the County’s proposed living wage policy is to alleviate the strain on county services and to help promote within the county an acceptable living standard for working residents.
The draft ordinance goes on to further define how the living wage provisions will be initially implemented and enforced. In addition, the draft ordinance proposes definitions for terms appearing in the ordinance and policy, as well as a process for claiming an exemption not specifically provided for in the policy.
The Administration is proposing a draft Board Policy that defines basic wage and benefit standards for the living wage, as well as basic job security standards. Furthermore, the draft policy proposes to take effect for new service contracts resulting from competitive solicitations issued on or after January 1, 2015. In addition, the draft policy would not be effective for contracts for direct services with community-based nonprofit contractors entered into before July 1, 2015. Finally, the draft policy lists the types of contracts to which it would not be applicable.
(The draft policy does not yet reference provisions related to notice of work schedules and worker retention. The Administration proposes to come back to the Board prior to the end of the fiscal year, with recommended policy provisions for these two aspects, to take effect for new service contracts resulting from competitive solicitations issued on or after July 1, 2015.)
Given the well-documented limitations of the County’s current contracting infrastructure, which hindered an up-front fiscal analysis, the Administration is proposing to monitor the fiscal impact going forward and include living wage fiscal implications as new contracts negotiated under these terms are brought forward to the Board for approval. In the same manner, adequate compliance monitoring will be developed on a prospective basis, with ongoing evaluations for the best methods of enforcement. As the Administration considers needs related to monitoring for compliance, the Administration will return to the Board, either at Mid-Year or as part of the FY 2016 Recommended Budget, with requests for additional staffing resources. (As an example, the City of San Jose has an Office of Equality Assurance to implement, monitor, and administer its living wage, prevailing wage, and minimum wage policies. This Office has a staff of ten employees.)
The Administration is proposing the approach of a high-level ordinance accompanied by a Board Policy to allow sufficient flexibility to modify and add to the policy provisions on a going-forward basis, informed by experience. The Administration envisions returning to the Board on an as-needed basis with recommended modifications and additions to the policy as lessons are learned from the implementation of the living wage.
The Board of Supervisors, at its meeting of May 20, 2014, directed Administration to report back to the Finance & Government Operations Committee and the Children, Seniors & Families Committee at their June, August, and September meetings related to the Administration’s progress on the development of a County Living Wage Ordinance.
The Board of Supervisors, at its September 23, 2014 meeting, directed Administration and County Counsel to prepare a draft Living Wage Ordinance and Board Policy, based on the parameters outlined in the original Board referral, for consideration at the October 21, 2014 meeting of the Board of Supervisors.
The May 20th Board referral also asked Administration to create a “Family-Friendly Employer Certification Program.” Since that referral was made, it has come to the Administration’s attention that the Public Health Department has instituted a “Healthy Workplace Award Program” and a “Mother Friendly Employer Designation Award Program,” and that the Office of Women’s Policy has implemented a “Parent-Friendly Workplace Award Program.” The Administration is exploring options for bringing all of these related programs together and will report back to the Board on these efforts at a future date.