The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously at its Tuesday meeting to continue moving forward with a plan that would raise the city’s minimum wage to more than $12 by 2016.
The plan, hatched at the council’s May 20 meeting, raises the minimum wage to $10 by October, $11 a year later and $12.53 in 2016. The council passed the item on its first reading without discussion. In order to go into effect, the plan must be passed once more, on its second reading in two weeks.
The speedy approval was a contrast to the cycle of debate and revision that preceded Tuesday’s meeting. The council had passed the first reading of another plan on May 6, which would have raised the minimum wage to $10 by the beginning of next year and $10.75 by January of 2016, but ultimately reconsidered in favor of the plan passed Tuesday.
Other plans the council discussed and eventually tossed are a Commission on Labor proposal that put forth a higher minimum wage for larger businesses than for smaller businesses and a plan by Councilmember Laurie Capitelli that aimed to increase the wage to $10 in August, both of which would have allowed for a steady increase in the minimum wage until it reached about $15.
The plan passed Tuesday provides a one-year exemption for nonprofits, for which minimum wage will be raised to $11 starting October 2015, and a permanent exemption for youth job-training programs. Additionally, the council will create a task force — slated to be discussed at its July 1 meeting — to consider other adjustments to its minimum wage laws, such as the issue of sick pay.
The minimum wage proposal is set to come back to council for a second reading on June 24.