BOS to discuss pros and cons of postponing next minimum wage increase

Los Angeles County Seal.
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Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger introduced a motion that calls for an analysis of the pros and cons of postponing the upcoming increase of the minimum wage by businesses in the unincorporated areas of the county through July 2021.

For companies with 26 or more employees, the current minimum wage stands at $14.25 per hour and $13.25 for those with 25 or fewer workers. An increase in wage is expected on July 1 to $15 per hour for establishments of 26 or more and $14.25 for those with 25 or less. 

Annual increases of the minimum wage are scheduled to take effect July 1, 2022, for all workers within the unincorporated areas of the county based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Earners and Clerical Workers. 

California’s scheduled increases run from Jan. 1, 2017, to Jan. 1, 2022, and Los Angeles County “took bold action” to expedite its own timetable ahead of the state to increase wages, and is more than one year ahead of the state toward reaching the $15 per hour minimum pay. 

WIth the coronavirus pandemic challenging multiple businesses to stay afloat under existing restrictions of the Safer at Home order that has kept people at home and workplaces shut down, Barger has recommended readjusting the county’s timetable of pay increases. 

“To that end, it is appropriate for our board to re-assess the timeline of the county’s minimum wage ordinance and the impact on a vulnerable employee population,” read the motion. 

More than 92% of businesses in the county have 20 or fewer workers and nearly 90% of small businesses have zero to nine employees, according to the L.A. Economic Development Corp. Challenges brought forth by the pandemic have resulted in 1 million people who filed for unemployment and an unemployment rate of 20% in the county and in the city of Santa Clarita in April, according to the state Employment Development Department. 

The county Board of Supervisors is expected to discuss the matter today during its regular meeting, which starts at 9:30 a.m. 

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