Minimum wage workers in the Southland will get a modest pay boost starting Friday, with the hourly rate in the city of Los Angeles increasing to $16.04 and in unincorporated areas of LA County to $15.96.
The minimum wage had been $15.
The city’s wage hike was announced in February by Mayor Eric Garcetti, while the county’s increase was announced in March by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs.
The county’s rate marks a 6.4% bump. The rate has risen steadily since 2016, when the county adopted a minimum wage ordinance that slowly increased the amount annually, reaching $15 per hour on July 1, 2020, for large businesses and on July 1, 2021, for smaller businesses.
Following the pre-determined increases, future hikes will be based on increases in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index.
“A healthy local economy means support for both labor and industry. This wage adjustment is in line with the spirit of the ordinance to ensure that wages keep pace with inflation and support a stable workforce,” county Department of Consumer and Business Affairs Director Rafael Carbajal said this week.
“We will ensure that workers in unincorporated LA County are protected and aware of the updated minimum wage, and we will work with our sister departments to support employers that may need assistance with information, compliance, and access to resources.”
According to the county DCBA, the hike applies to employees who perform at least two hours of work in a week within unincorporated areas of LA County.
In addition, employers are required to post an updated bulletin of the new rate in a conspicuous place. The hike also protects workers regardless of their immigration or work status.
DCBA staff have been conducting on-site visits to businesses to clarify the new wage laws and encourage full compliance, according to the agency.
The city of LA’s bump is based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers in the LA metropolitan area, according to the city.
“We fought to raise the minimum wage because hard work should always be met with the dignity, respect and opportunity that fair pay brings,” Garcetti said when he announced the increase.
“Our decision to end poverty wages in LA caused a ripple effect across the nation, and this additional increase is the latest reason to celebrate today — and a reminder of how our fight for better wages is far from finished.”
The city’s wage increase ordinance was signed in June 2015, lifting it to $15 per hour by 2020.
According to Garcetti’s office, more than 600,000 Angelenos make minimum wage and will receive a pay increase Friday.
David Huerta, president of Service Employees International Union United Service Workers West — which represents more than 45,000 service workers in California — said in February that while the raise is a boost, it isn’t enough to cover the cost of living in Los Angeles.
“Although this is a good thing that workers are getting a raise, the reality of it all is that even $16 an hour minimum wage, as a result of the CPI increase, it’s still a struggle for working people to survive in Los Angeles,” Huerta said.
Meanwhile, Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry Commerce Association, said his organization opposes the minimum wage increase, as it did when the law tying it to the Consumer Price Index was passed.
“It was a huge increase over a short period of time,” he said in February.