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About the Bay: San Francisco's Minimum Wage Workers Getting A Raise

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - San Francisco's minimum wage is already the highest in the nation at $9.92 an hour, and it's about to break the $10 mark.

It's a surprisingly complex issue. Those who are getting the raise, compared with those who are paying for it, can look at the same amount of money and see completely different things. It's an issue that has even Mayor Ed Lee searching for answers.

The topic apparently took Lee by surprise when KCBS' Mike Sugerman asked him about it, during his travels About the Bay.

"It's a few cents, right?" asked Lee.

"Yeah - no, it's up to $10.24," Sugerman responded.

"Wow, and this is our own law, right? So I think we have time to take a look at it, we'll see whether that is going to be an additional burden," said Lee.

The 32-cents per hour increase goes into effect Jan. 1, 2012 because of inflation. It translates into approximately $12 extra per week or about $500 per year for minimum wage employees.

KCBS' Mike Sugerman Reports:

Plenty of business owners are following the issue closely. Some said they will be making changes because of the new law.

"I mean, I'm a chef. It drives me nuts to have to cut my kitchen staff to pay for a tipped employee who makes far more money in the first place," argued Dan Scherotter, who owns Palio D'Asti in the financial district.

Waiters make upwards of $27 per hour with tips, and will benefit from the minimum wage law increase.

"It doesn't help the people who it's intended to help, in our business anyway," Scherotter lamented.

"The retail, the small mom and pop stores, they're having a heck of a time having ends meet," added Samer Kouri of Samerimas Imports in the Mission. "Many stores are just folding up, they're closing up."

"And you think it's because of the minimum wage?" asked Sugerman.

"It's not the minimum wage, that adds to it," Kouri opined. "There are so many other things."

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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