Minimum Wage Ordinance

On August 5, 2019, the Petaluma City Council unanimously approved the introduction of a local minimum wage ordinance.  Under the ordinance, employers will be required to pay their Petaluma employees a wage set by the City Council, rather than one set by the state.

Read a summary of the ordinance below.  Access to the complete ordinance will be available in late September, 2019, on our municipal code website.

Need help managing the change?  Contact us for a referral to the Small Business Development Center.

What is it?

The ordinance establishes a local minimum wage. Employers will need to use this local minimum wage rather than the state’s, unless the state’s wage is higher.

The ordinance starts January 1, 2020, with a set wage of $15.00 per hour for Large employers (26 or more employees) and $14.00 per hour for Small employers (25 or fewer employees).

On January 1, 2021, all employers (i.e., small and large) would go to the same wage of $15.00 + a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) that would be calculated based on the Bay Area Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Annual COLA increases would continue after that.

Large Employers

26 and More

Small Employers

25 and Fewer

Jan 1 2020 $15.00/hr $14.00/hr
Jan 1 2021 $15.00 + COLA $15.00 + COLA
Jan 1 2022+          Prior Year Wage +
Annual COLA Increase
Prior Year Wage +
Annual COLA Increase

Who is Covered?

This ordinance covers all employees who work at least 2 hours per week in the City limits and who qualify for the minimum wage according to the California Labor Code.

The ordinance does not apply to Federal, State, or County agencies, including school districts. It also does not apply to work done outside the Petaluma City limits or to time an employee spends travelling through the city to get to another destination.

Am I a Large or Small Employer?

For the purposes of this ordinance, employer size is determined by the total number of employees you have at all locations, not just your Petaluma-based employees. If you have 26 or more employees at all of your locations, you would be considered a large employer. If you have 25 or fewer employees at all locations, you would be considered a small employer.

Special Teen Wage

The proposed ordinance allows employers to pay a lower wage to workers who are 14 to 17 years of age, for the first 160 hours of employment. The teen wage is 85 percent of the published wage for that year.

Informing Employees

Similar to the State’s wage requirements, the proposed Petaluma ordinance requires employers to inform employees of the local wage and their rights at the onset of their employment and on an annual basis. Employers also need to put up posters or flyers listing the current wage and employee rights. These flyers need to be in the languages spoken by at least 10 percent of the workers. Each year the City will make available a .pdf copy of a sample poster with updated wage information.

Employee Rights 

The ordinance gives employees, an employee representative, or any other person the right to report suspected violations. It also gives them the right to bring legal action against an employer.  Finally, it discusses remedies if a violation is found.


The City, rather than the State, will be responsible for enforcing the proposed ordinance, just as it is responsible for enforcing any other law adopted by the City Council.

The proposed ordinance gives the City the right to investigate suspected violations and to request employee records as part of its investigation. To the extent possible, the City will seek an informal resolution of any complaints. Other cities with similar ordinances have found that most violations are the result of an oversight by the employer or confusion about the types of employees covered, rather than an intentional effort to cheat employees. These cities have taken a conciliatory approach to correcting any employer errors, and we plan to follow that model as well.