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Emeryville Approves Highest Minimum Wage In The Country At Nearly $16 An Hour

EMERYVILLE (CBS SF) – The Emeryville City Council has voted to raise the city's minimum wage to nearly $16 an hour by 2019.

According to the San Francisco Business Times, the ordinance will go into effect on July 1. Businesses with 55 employees or less will pay them $12.25 per hour. Companies with more than 55 employees will be required to pay workers $14.44 an hour.

The wages will go up based on cost-of-living increases.

The Business Times reports that Emeryville's minimum wage will rise faster than other Bay Area cities that have already adopted minimum wage increases, like San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley and will be the highest minimum wage in the country.

The vote came despite concerns from some small business owners that they wouldn't be able to compete with businesses in other cities.

"With income inequality out of control, we need to lift the floor for low-wage workers so if you work full-time, you don't need public assistance," said Emeryville Mayor Ruth Atkin in a statement. "We have a tempered regional approach and consensus that includes business. This is a policy for the common good."

Emeryville has a number of major retailers, including Best Buy, IKEA and Target. In 2014, more than 2,200 out of the 22,179 Emeryville workers were earning the minimum wage, that according to data from the East Bay Economic Development Alliance.

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