Westfield Valley Fair announced it would start charging for parking on Feb. 8, 2022, including an employee parking fee.
According to a press release, Valley Fair will charge employees $40 per month or $3 per day to park in designated employee parking areas. It encouraged employers to purchase parking passes for their employees.
When asked if the parking fee was an unnecessary burden on employees working for minimum wage or just above minimum wage, a Westfield spokesperson replied, “Employers themselves determine if they’ll pay for employee parking passes. If not purchased by the employer, individual employees may purchase the passes themselves…By creating an even better experience overall at Valley Fair, the hope is that the already popular center brings even more customers to support retailers allowing them to flourish.”
Ginhee of Young Art Lessons says she knew Valley Fair planned to implement a pay for parking plan, but the employee parking fee came as a surprise.
“I have not announced to my whole team about this because it will be a shocker for them,” said Ginhee.
Young Art Lessons employs many young artists and while they earn more than minimum wage, it’s not much more.
“They put their heart and soul into it because they love children and they love art,” said Ginhee.
Ginhee says she understands that COVID was tough for everyone, but she hopes there can be a middle ground. She thinks a handful of complimentary employee parking passes for each business would go a long way to making this easier.
Until then, she plans to pay for the parking passes for her employees and hopefully make up the difference through an increase in sales.
“Because we’re small, it’s not going to break us. With good communication, it can be less of a pill to swallow,” said Ginhee.
Macy’s has two locations at Valley Fair with hundreds of employees to consider.
“The safety of our colleagues and customers is our top priority and [we] believe that taking steps to implement a safer environment is beneficial,” said a Macy’s spokesperson. “Our team is aware of the parking changes at Westfield Valley Fair Mall and is currently working with the developer to ensure the impact to our colleagues will be minimal.”
The Silicon Valley Voice asked other businesses at Westfield, including Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, if they would be paying for employee parking but did not receive a reply.
Westfield says it implemented the “controlled parking plan” as an added layer of security as well as a deterrent for non-customers.
“There are a substantial number of vehicles left on site each day by individuals heading off to work elsewhere in the Silicon Valley community and to the nearby San Jose International Airport,” said a Westfield spokesperson.