Known for its high cost of living, California is at the forefront of the fight to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles has signed a new law that will phase in just such a wage increase within the city. Now, he is promoting a similar ordinance in Los Angeles County.
Speaking at a county board meeting, he explained the economic benefits he believed would result from higher wages. He expected a $15 minimum wage to give workers more spending money. He added that poverty takes a toll on local taxpayers who support government services. Approximately 10 million people live in the unincorporated county areas around Los Angeles. If the county adopted the same wage laws as the city, the mayor said it would help over one million people overcome poverty.
Concerns remained among county supervisors, who postponed their vote. A report prepared by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation cited possible problems like rising prices, stagnant economic growth and minimal reduction in poverty. The county board plans to revisit the subject after gathering more information and exploring methods of helping small businesses and nonprofits cope with the proposed wage increases.
Wage laws applied by local governments are not uncommon, but not always observed by employers. When a person encounters trouble getting paid according to the law, particularly unpaid overtime, a conversation with an attorney could inform the person about legal means of collecting pay. A demand letter from an attorney might prompt an employer to comply with wage laws. If necessary, a lawsuit could be prepared on behalf of the worker.
Source: Courthouse News Service, “LA County Delays Vote on $15 Minimum Wage”, Matt Reynolds, June 24, 2015