Wages will increase but will there be fewer jobs?
LA City Council voted 14 to 1 in favor of the increase. Mayor Eric Garcetti originally called for an increase to $13.25 per hour as a way of reducing poverty levels in the city. In March, during a speech on Cesar Chavez Day, the mayor called LA the "poverty capital of the world." Remarks are available through the mayor's website.
The mayor wrote on his Facebook page, "Today, help is on the way for the one million Angelenos who live in poverty. I started this campaign to raise the minimum wage to create broader economic prosperity in our city and because the minimum wage should not be a poverty wage in Los Angeles."
Supporters who cheered the result included UNITE HERE Local 11, the union that represents more than 20,000 workers employed in hotels, restaurants, airports, sports arenas, and convention centers throughout Southern California.
Business leaders and small business owners who have to make payrolls were disappointed. The president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Leron Gubler, stated in an email message to members that it's a 67 percent increase despite concerns raised by the business community.
Gubler said even consultants advised not going beyond Mayor Eric Garcetti's original proposal of $13.25 per hour.
Beginning in 2016, the minimum wage in the City of L.A. will increase annually as follows:
- July 1, 2016 - $10.50
- July 1, 2017 - $12.00
- July 1, 2018 - $13.25
- July 1, 2019 - $14.25
- July 1, 2020 - $15.00
"Frankly, we are disappointed in the action taken by the Council," said Chamber President Leron Gubler. "Setting the definition of a small business as less than 25 employees is woefully inadequate in meeting the needs of small businesses, and the single year of additional time to comply with this huge increase is going to leave many businesses with few options."
Modifications will be made for non-profit organizations and businesses with 25 or fewer employees and will have a separate rate increase:
- July 1, 2017 - $10.50
- July 1, 2018 - $12.00
- July 1, 2019 - $13.25
- July 1, 2020 - $14.25
- July 1, 2021 - $15.00
Non-profit organizations with greater than 25 employees can apply for a waiver if their top executive earns less than five times the wage of the lowest-paid worker, or provide transitional jobs programs, or erve as child care providers, or are primarily funded by city, county, state or federal grants or reimbursements.
Consistent with state law, the youth wage will stay as 85 percent of minimum wage for 160 hours for workers 14-17 years of age.
Los Angeles County is also considering a measure that would boost the minimum wage in unincorporated parts of the county.