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Another City Hops Aboard The $15 Minimum Wage Trend

Los Angeles recently took a big step towards becoming the latest city to adopt the $15 per hour band wagon.  Draft minimum wage and wage enforcement ordinances made their way through the Los Angeles City Council and City Attorney’s offices in May and June.  Eric Garcetti, mayor of Los Angeles, formally signed the ordinances into law on June 13.

The minimum wage ordinance will gradually increase Los Angeles’ minimum wage until it reaches $15 on July 1, 2020, for most employers.  For businesses and non-profits with 25 or fewer employees, the minimum wage will not increase to $15 until one year later, on July 1, 2021. Starting in 2022, the minimum wage will be adjusted based on the Consumer Price Index.  The wage enforcement ordinance also creates a Wage Enforcement Division to enforce the minimum wage, investigate minimum wage and wage theft violations, collect penalties and fines for non-compliance, and order the reinstatement of employees or award back pay as necessary.

Los Angeles joins a growing list of cities and states which have passed minimum wage increases recently. States including Vermont, Connecticut, Maryland, and Hawaii passed minimum wages increases last year.  The Chicago City Council passed an ordinance which will raise that city’s minimum wage to $13 by 2019. The city of Sea-Tac, Washington, a small airport town, because the first jurisdiction to pass a $15 minimum wage in late 2013.  In New York, on top of previously-enacted wage increases, Governor Cuomo included a minimum wage increase in his 2015 budget and formed a Wage Board to examine fast food worker wages.  As the second-largest city in the country, Los Angeles’ initiative could cause even more municipalities to take note of this trend, which could spell even more increases for employers throughout the country.

Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with state and federal employment laws including wage and hour laws.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.965.0560.