Business & Economy

Los Angeles leaders give final approval to $15 minimum wage

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, gave final approval to a proposal that calls for raising the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. (File photo shows balloon used during a rally and march to demand the increase to $15.)
The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, gave final approval to a proposal that calls for raising the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. (File photo shows balloon used during a rally and march to demand the increase to $15.)
Stock photo by Wesley Pinkham via Flickr Creative Commons

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The Los Angeles City Council made it official on Wednesday:  the minimum wage in L.A. will rise gradually to $15 per hour over the next five years.  

The final vote was procedural - required because last week's vote wasn't unanimous - but still important to supporters who've been engaged in the wage hike debate for the last nine months. 

“Today is a historic day for Los Angeles, the City Council and the Mayor,” said Council President Herb Wesson in statement.  “We are already seeing the fruits of our labor as our own state and other cities nationwide begin exploring policies to increase their local minimum wage.”

In the schedule approved by the Economic Development Committee previously, beginning in 2016, the minimum wage in the City of Los Angeles will increase annually as follows:

Effective Date Wage
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

The schedule for businesses with 25 employees or fewer delays the wage hikes for a year:

Effective Date Wage
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

The City Council has also set aside some more complex and controversial issues for further study and development over the coming months. Those include a paid sick leave requirement, exemptions for employers who reach separate wage agreements with union workers, and exemptions for non-profits that hire transitional "trainees," who would find it difficult to find employment elsewhere.

Wesson's statement also points out that the ordinance will "allow the City Council to monitor future impacts of the ordinance and make adjustments as necessary." 

A spokesperson from Mayor Eric Garcetti's office told the Associated Press that Garcetti plans to sign the ordinance on Saturday.

Seattle and San Francisco also have passed laws that gradually raise the hourly minimum wage to $15.

This story has been updated