San Diego City Council approves raising minimum wage to $11.50 an hour by 2017
'Human hands exchanging money' [Shutterstock]

By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - The San Diego City Council gave formal approval on Monday to an ordinance incrementally raising the minimum wage in California's second-largest city to $11.50 an hour by January 2017, mostly for workers in the restaurant and retail sectors.

The council adopted the Democratic-backed measure on a 6-3 party-line vote - the same majority it would take to override a veto threatened by Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

The mayor has 10 days to act from the time he receives the bill from the city clerk, who in turn has 48 hours to transmit the measure to his desk, said Katie Keach, a spokeswoman for Council President Todd Gloria, one of the bill's supporters.

Keach said the bill reflected a compromise negotiated by supporters with a number of small business owners in the city, but it is opposed by the local Chamber of Commerce and the California Restaurant Association.

California's statewide minimum wage went up earlier this month to $9 an hour from $8, and is scheduled to climb to $10 an hour next July. California is one of 21 states with a higher minimum wage than the federal level of $7.25 an hour.

Under the measure passed on Monday, the hourly minimum wage for all workers in San Diego would rise to $9.75 starting on Jan. 1, 2015, reach $10.50 the following year and $11.50 by January 2017. Further increases starting Jan. 1, 2019, would be indexed to inflation. The measure would also give workers a chance to earn up to five days of paid sick leave.

(Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman from Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney)

[Image: 'Human hands exchanging money,' via Shutterstock]