Petaluma Minimum Wage

2021 Petaluma Minimum Wage

Starting January 1, 2021, the new Petaluma minimum wage rate will be $15.20/hour (reflecting a 1.3% COLA) for all employers regardless of size.

2021 Employee Notification Letter (English & Spanish)
2021 Employer Notification Letter (English & Spanish)
2021 Minimum Wage Poster (English & Spanish)


On August 5, 2019, the Petaluma City Council unanimously approved the adoption of a local minimum wage ordinance. Click HERE to read the ordinance.

This ordinance:

  • Requires employers to pay a Petaluma minimum wage, rather than the state wage, for employee hours worked within the Petaluma City limits.
  • Establishes a two-tiered wage during the first year of implementation (2020), then a single wage starting in the second year of implementation (2021).
  • Adds an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) based on regional consumer price index.

City Contact Information

For questions or to file a minimum wage complaint, please contact the Economic Development Division at [email protected].

photo of person filling out a form or application

What is it?

The ordinance establishes a local minimum wage. When calculating wages for hours worked within the Petaluma city limits, employers must use the Petaluma local minimum wage, instead of the state wage, unless they or their employees are exempted by law.

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.

Employees who receive tips and/or commissions are NOT exempt and must be paid the local minimum wage for hours worked within the City limits.

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.

What wage is used for exempt employees or other special types of employees covered by State Wage Orders?

State Wage Orders regulate wages, hours, and working conditions of industries. Under these wage orders, certain types of employees must be paid a defined percentage over the state minimum wage. For example, auto technicians who bring their own tools must be paid twice the state minimum wage.

The state minimum wage can be used to calculate wages for these employees, as long as their hourly wage is no less than the Petaluma minimum wage. Because this is a complex issue, we recommend you check with an attorney or a labor law expert.


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.

Click below for a sample 2021 notification letter and 2021 poster.

Notification Letter (in English and Spanish)
Poster (in English and Spanish)

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, is 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.

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.

The City of Petaluma is following the conciliatory model as well.

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