Business & Economy

Businesses push for clarity in minimum wage laws

Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich talks to the board during a board meeting at the Hall of Administration on June 6, 2012.
Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich talks to the board during a board meeting at the Hall of Administration on June 6, 2012.
Andres Aguila/KPCC

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Business owners say they're confused about how to comply with the slew of minimum wage hikes passed in the last couple of years in Southern California.

The City of L.A., L.A. County, and State of California have all approved bills gradually increasing the minimum wage throughout the next few years until it reaches $15 per hour in 2020—but they all follow different schedules. On Tuesday, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve funding for educational materials, workshops and other support for business owners on how to comply. 

Supervisor Mike Antonovich, who's district includes swaths of the city of L.A. as well as small cities and unincorporated areas,  is spearheading the effort. 

"It's a little confusing to say the least," said Richard LuGuerico, who owns Town and Country Event Rentals in Van Nuys.

He has 350 employees and isn't sure which hikes apply to his business and when. And not implementing the hikes correctly could leave him vulnerable to liability, he said. 

Lucie Votolzky has owned Beds Unlimited—a local chain of mattress stores —for a more than thirty years. Her stores fall in different jurisdictions, making it hard to know when to raise who's pay when. 

"I want to pay them right," she said. "But don't bring me three different, very different ways."

The City of L.A. passed its wage hike schedule in May 2015, followed by L.A. County in July 2015 and the state legislature in March 2016. Each follows a different schedule of gradual increases through 2020.