Minimum Wage


On March 9, 2021 the Santa Monica City Council adopted a Hero Pay Ordinance requiring large grocery store chains and drug retailers to provide their essential workers an additional $5 an hour in light of their increased health risks throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency as these businesses have remained open and in service to the community. 

Download Legal Notice (English)     Download Legal Notice (Spanish)   

Every employer shall post a written notice in a conspicuous place at every store located within the City of Santa Monica where any employee works, informing employees of the Hero Pay Ordinance and of their rights under the ordinance.

Ordinance 2664     FAQ’S

For questions: Contact City of Santa Monica’s COVID Hotline (310) 458-8400

To File a “Hero Pay” Complaint: or call 800.593.8222

If you believe your employer is not paying the mandated temporary “Hero Pay,” file a complaint online by clicking the “Get Help” button or call the number above.

Minimum Wage Ordinance

Santa Monica's minimum wage law sets general and hotel worker wages and mandates paid sick leave. 

  • The minimum wage reached $15.00 per hour for all businesses on July 1, 2021.  It will increase by annual Consumer Price Index thereafter. Santa Monica will post new rates annually on or near May 15th.
  • The wage for hotels and businesses operating on hotel property matches the City of Los Angeles Citywide Hotel Worker Minimum Wage Rate.  Santa Monica will post new rates annually on or near May 15th.
  • The paid sick leave provision requires Santa Monica employers to provide 40 hours (small businesses) or 72 hours (larger business) of paid sick leave

The ordinance also includes service charges, first-time worker, and enforcement provisions, and a limited exemption for employers providing transitional jobs.  To apply for the Transitional Jobs exemption, please email  For other detail, see the wage tables and other information below.

Legal Notices

Employers must post Santa Monica notices.

  • At a minimum, employers must post Santa Monica's legal notices in English and Spanish.  
  • Businesses must also post notices in any other language spoken by five percent or more of the employer's workforce.  
  • Legal notices are available for download below.  Please contact to request the legal notices in an additional language. 

Please see below for legal notices valid from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. These contain updated minimum wage and hotel worker living wage rates.

Wage Rate & Paid Sick Leave Tables

Minimum Wage Rates

(as of July 1 each year)
YearBusinesses with 26 or more employeesBusinesses with 25 or fewer employeesAll Hotels
(CA State Minimum Wage)

* Increases by annual Consumer Price Index each year. Figures will be updated annually with new rates.

Sick Leave Provisions

Businesses with 26 or more employeesBusinesses with 25 or fewer employees
72 hours40 hours

Notes: Employees accrue one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employers can provide leave up front, and employer plans can be more generous.

Complying with Other Minimum Wage Laws

The State of California, the City and County of Los Angeles, and other jurisdictions also have minimum wage laws. Santa Monica employers must comply with all relevant laws.  Where requirements conflict, the employer must follow the law with that is most generous to employees.



Please contact to request any other graphics or notices.

Ordinance Details

General Minimum Wage

Businesses must comply with the local minimum wage starting July 1, 2016. The Santa Monica wage rates, schedules, and small business and nonprofit organization delays match those of Los Angeles City and County.

  • Phased increase to reach $15 in 2020 for most businesses
  • One-year delay ($15 by 2021) for businesses with 25 or fewer employees
  • One-year delay ($15 by 2021) for qualifying nonprofit organizations
  • Limited exemption for transitional employers
  • Limited exemption for first-time workers (85% of local minimum wage for first 160 hours)
  • Limited exemption for employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement.

Hotel Worker Living Wage

The hotel worker wage is based on Santa Monica’s commitment to supporting a vibrant and equitable tourism industry in parity with the region/Los Angeles hotel wages.

  • Applies to all hotels, apart from Santa Monica’s youth hostels
  • Includes a one-year hardship waiver provision for hotels that would need to reduce employment by more than 20% or reduce hours by more than 30% to avoid bankruptcy
  • Applies to businesses that contract, lease, or sublet on hotel property or provide services on hotel property
  • Limited exemption for employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement.

Paid Sick Leave

The Santa Monica ordinance requires paid sick leave for full-time, part-time, and temporary employees. Note that paid sick leave benefits are greater than the State Requirements.

  • Employers must comply starting January 1, 2017 (before this date, comply with State paid sick leave law).
  • The law requires 40 hours for small businesses (businesses with 25 or fewer employees in Santa Monica), and 72 hours for larger businesses (businesses with 26 or more employees in Santa Monica).
  • Employers may provide paid sick leave using the accrual method or frontloading (all required leave provided at the start of the year).  
  • Accrual rate is one hour for every 30 hours worked.
  • Employees must carry over accrued, unused paid sick leave annually (calendar year, fiscal year, or hiring date) up to the accrual cap.
  • Employers may provide sick leave at the start of the year as a whole rather than by accrual, as long as this provides leave consistent with the required accrual amounts.  In this case, no carryover is required.  
  • Other paid sick leave plans will comply if equal to or more generous than the ordinance.
  • Sick leave use and all other detail follows the California State AB 1522 guidelines.

Service Charges

Santa Monica’s ordinance requires that employers who collect service charges from customers must pay the entirety of those charges to the workers who performed those services.

  • Service charges can be shared between front and back of house apart from hotel banquet/catering, porterage, and delivery charges.
  • Healthcare surcharges must be spent entirely on workers and follow specific guidelines.
  • Employers must provide clear notice to customers of the charge and its use.
  • Employers must share with employees how they distribute service charge proceeds, and must keep records of service charge revenue receipts and spending.

First-Time Workers

Employees working for the first time in an activity in which they have no previous similar or related experience can earn 85% of the minimum wage for the first 160 hours of employment.

  • This is the same language as the State “learner” provision.
  • City staff can provide further guidance regarding what constitutes similar or related experience, if needed.


The ordinance prohibits retaliation against employees for rights protected under the minimum wage law, and provides that employers cannot reduce employees’ hours or other benefits to directly fund the wage increase.  Employees have the right to file civil claims, and employers violating the law can be subject to administrative or criminal penalties.  Employers must cooperate with investigations.  The City enforces its minimum wage law through Los Angeles County's Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA).

This is intended as general information only and does not carry the force of legal opinion. The information is provided as a public service.