The second-largest city in the United States on Tuesday voted to increase its minimum wage from $9 an hour to $15 an hour by 2020.
The City Council of Los Angeles passed the wage hike in 14-1 vote, joining the ranks of San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago to have approved the minimum-wage increases. The vote applies to companies with 25 employees or more, with smaller companies given one extra year to bring wages to the mandated level.
The impact is likely a significant one in Los Angeles, where, according to some estimates, almost 50 per cent of the city’s work force earns less than $15 an hour. The recently legislated hourly wage increase will rise over five years.
“The effects here will be the biggest by far,H said Michael Reich, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was commissioned by city leaders to conduct several studies on the potential effects of a minimum-wage increase.
“The proposal will bring wages up in a way we haven’t seen since the 1960s. There’s a sense spreading that this is the new norm, especially in areas that have high costs of housing,” in a report by The New York Times.
The groups advocating for higher minimum wages said that the Los Angeles vote could open the floodgates for further increases across Southern California. It added that higher pay would improve the way of life for the region’s vast low-wage working class.