The San Diego Tribune is reporting that the San Diego City Council voted to include EMTs and Paramedics in the city’s living wage ordinance. From the article:
SAN DIEGO — San Diego took another step this week to boost the quality of its paramedics and emergency medical technicians by closing a loophole exempting them from the city’s living wage ordinance.
The change, which the city’s ambulance provider has agreed to implement next month, will increase the pay of an EMT from $10 an hour to at least $14.43 an hour. Most paramedics will get a smaller bump of roughly $1 an hour.
Council President Sherri Lightner suggested the low wages paid to city emergency workers could have played a role in San Diego’s recent poor response times, which were particularly bad in 2015.
“Many of us on the council were very surprised to learn that these first responders were not being compensated at that level before,” Lightner said. “It may be why there were staffing and response-time issues this last year.”
It is important to note that the city’s living wage ordinance applies only to city contractors. Other ambulance companies that do not contract with the city for services are not required to raise wages. It remains to be seen whether the increase will be given to only those employees working under the Rural Metro contract, or of the increases will also be given to the American Medical Response (who now owns Rural Metro) EMTs and Paramedics not associated with the contract but who operate within the city.
Currently the Petition for a Federally Mandated Minimum Wage For Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics has over 9,300 signatures. You can sign the petition here.