Starting Friday, Los Angeles area employers will begin paying a higher minimum wage and offer at least six days of paid leave benefits under city and county laws that will eventually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
The local laws, which kick in Friday, require businesses with more than 25 workers to increase their minimum wage from the state-mandated $10 to $10.50 per hour. The hikes will take place in Los Angeles and unincorporated areas of the county, as well as a few other nearby cities, including Santa Monica and Pasadena.
Also going into effect Friday is a provision in the city’s minimum wage law that requires employers with more than 25 workers to offer at least six days of paid sick leave benefits, which goes beyond the three days currently required under state law.
Smaller businesses have an extra year to implement both provisions.
Mayor Eric Garcetti will join other city officials and speakers at the Boyle Heights Technology Youth Center on Friday morning to discuss the wage increase, which is the first step of gradual minimum wage increase to $15.
A free resource fair will also being held Friday at Grand Park, in downtown Los Angeles, for workers to learn more about efforts to enforce the new wage.
Under the city and county ordinances, the minimum wage will eventually reach $15 per hour in 2020, with future increases pegged to the Consumer Price Index. Employers with 25 or fewer workers have an extra year to adjust to the new city wages, with the minimum wage reaching $15 per hour by 2021.
The $10.50 minimum wage will soon apply to all businesses across the state with more than 25 employees. Under the state’s own phase-in of a $15 per hour minimum wage, the $10.50 wage goes into effect six months later than the city laws, on Jan. 1, 2017. The statewide wage is set to reach $15 in 2022 for large businesses, and in 2023 for small businesses.
Rusty Hicks, who leads the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, said Friday will be an “exciting day for thousands — tens of thousands — of workers all across the city of Los Angeles (who) will see a pay increase from $10 to $10.50 per hour.”
He said the goal of the news conference with Garcetti will be to “draw attention to that increase and to make sure that everyone knows.”
Hicks, who co-led an effort to raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles, said the next step is to make sure employers start paying the new wages and providing the added benefits.
“Tomorrow, we begin the process of actually seeing full implementation and to ensure the wage is actually enforced,” he said. “From our perspective the campaign is half-way there. Now we have to ensure that all workers receive the benefits that they are owed.”
Hicks said that while some employers have raised concerns about the wage leading to job loss or fewer work hours, the “benefit of raising the wage is that workers have more money in their pockets to buy and purchase basic necessities, and they spend those dollars with local businesses.”
“We believe that an increase in the minimum wage actually honors the dignity of work and at the same time is an economic generator for the city …, ” he said.
Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, said the multiple minimum wage laws going into effect throughout the county and the state can be confusing for businesses, and is “causing quite a bit of consternation” among employers.
Waldman said business owners have also told him that they have had to reduce hours and benefits, as well as cut workers or put off hiring new ones in preparation for the wage and sick leave provisions going into effect tomorrow.
He said city leaders made “empty promises” to reduce the city’s gross receipts tax to make it easier to do businesses.
“The politicians know what they can do to help business, at this moment they choose not to,” he said.
Waldman said the business chamber will be hosting a workshop on July 26 with City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office to help businesses to get up to speed on how to adhere to local wage laws.
–City News Service
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