Minimum Wage Hikes on the Horizon

May 20 2015 - Minimum Wage - Gail Cecchettini Whaley

On May 19, 2015, two California cities moved forward with large minimum wage hikes.

Los Angeles Minimum Wage May Rise To $15 By 2020

The Los Angeles City Council voted on a plan to incrementally raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020. According to the Los Angeles Times, the plan was approved 14-1. If the plan receives final approval, Los Angeles will become the largest city in the nation to adopt a large minimum wage hike.

Business groups, including the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, opposed the plan out of concerns the large hike could result in forced layoffs and businesses moving out of the city.

The city attorney’s office will now draft an ordinance that will return to council members later this year for final approval. If the ordinance is signed into law by the mayor, the first wage boost – to $10.50 per hour – will take effect in July 2016.

Emeryville Minimum May Rise to $15 By 2018

Emeryville’s city council also voted to increase their minimum wage.

The ordinance will require small businesses, defined in Emeryville as 55 or fewer employees, to pay employees $12.25 an hour beginning in July 2015.

Businesses with more than 55 employees will be required to pay $14.44 per hour beginning in July 2015.

There will be yearly increases thereafter, and, by July 1, 2018, all workers in Emeryville must earn $15 per hour. The minimum wage rate paid by small businesses increases at a more gradual rate than for large businesses, but all businesses will be required to pay the $15 an hour rate in 2018.

The minimum wage rate will increase thereafter on a yearly basis based on the Consumer Price Index, which means the minimum wage rate in Emeryville may be nearly $16 an hour by 2016 – one of the highest rates in the country.

The Emeryville ordinance also contains a paid sick leave provision as well as notice and posting requirements.

The ordinance will have a second reading on June 2, 2105. If adopted, the ordinance will become effective 30 days after final adoption which would put the anticipated effective date at July 2, 2015.

Gail Cecchettini Whaley, CalChamber Employment Law Counsel/Content

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