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Sonoma County raises living wage to $17.65/hour; 2nd hike in a year

PIX Now -- Tuesday afternoon headlines from the KPIX newsroom
PIX Now -- Tuesday afternoon headlines from the KPIX newsroom 07:27

SANTA ROSA – Amid rising inflation, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved raising the county's Living Wage for the second time in three months, to $17.65 an hour.

In a vote Tuesday, the board unanimously approved the 2.26% increase, which will go into effect in July.

The increase follows a similar move made by the board in December, which increased the Living Wage 2.74% to $17.25 an hour at the start of the year. As they approved the December hike, the board agreed to consider a second increase in spring, noting that consumer prices rose 6% over the past year.

County officials said the combined increases will increase the county's Living Wage by 5%, matching a cost-of-living adjustment being proposed to members of SEIU Local 1021, the county's largest union.

"Low-wage workers are hurt most by inflation, which erodes their ability to purchase food, shelter, clothing, transportation and other basics," Board of Supervisors Chair Chris Coursey said in a statement. "That's why the Board promised in December to reexamine our Living Wage this spring and consider a second increase. By requiring the county and its contractors to boost wages for their lowest-paid workers, we are setting an example for other employers to match."

Officials said the Living Wage ordinance covers individuals employed directly by county government and workers at private and nonprofit companies that have contracts with the county. Employers who contribute to workers' healthcare or retirement benefits receive a credit of $1.50 off the hourly rate, while firms that contribute to both receive a credit of $3 off the hourly rate.

The minimum wage in California is $15.50 an hour.

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