San Mateo County’s Living Wage Ordinance (LWO)

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The Living Wage Ordinance sets a minimum wage contractors are required to pay employees providing services under County contracts. The living wage is a pilot program, beginning January 1, 2017, and ending on June 30, 2022.

  • Beginning January 1, 2017, all amendments to existing contracts must comply with the Ordinance.
  • Beginning April 1, 2017, all new contracts must comply with the Ordinance.
  • Existing contracts are not affected until or unless they are amended.
  • Between January 1, 2017, and April 1, 2017, certain nonprofit contractors may voluntarily comply with the Ordinance and receive a monetary incentive (an “Enhancement”) from the County.


In December 2015, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors held a study session on living wage ordinances, and appointed Supervisors Carole Groom and Dave Pine to an LWO Subcommittee. To research living wage impacts and options, the LWO Subcommittee convened a workgroup that included 12 non-profit County contractors, one for-profit contractor, and a representative of the San Mateo Labor Council. Based on input from these meetings, the LWO Subcommittee recommended adoption of a five-year living wage pilot program.

 SMC’s LWO Schedule




January 1 / April 1, 2017



July 1, 2017



July 1, 2018



July 1, 2019



July 1, 2020



July 1, 2021



The LWO Covers…

Contracts and Contractors

  • All contracts for services entered into with the County on or after April 1, 2017.
  • When a contractor has more than one contract with the County, only those contracts that are covered contracts are subject to the ordinance.
  • Nonprofit contracts that are funded 50% or less by the County are not required to comply with the LWO.
  • Employees
  • All employees, both part-time and full-time, working for a covered contractor. See the LWO for exclusions, link below.


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