Minimum wage increase takes effect in Studio City

LOS ANGELES, CA — Years of preparation, a $15 minimum wage went into effect Thursday for small businesses in Studio City.

Six years after the city approved a phased increase in the minimum wage, the city’s lowest-paid workers have seen their hourly wages increase by more than half, from $9 to $15. The law, passed in 2015, first applied to large companies and, as of Thursday, to small businesses as well. From now on, it will continue to increase with cost of living adjustments. At the time, Los Angeles became one of the largest cities in the country to institute a $15 minimum wage.

“We can do good for our workers and do good for our companies. We’re not just telling companies you need to raise wages to $15 an hour, we’re doing everything we can to help them. “said Mayor Eric Garcetti, citing the city’s grants to struggling businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Al Fresco outdoor dining program that the city is working to make permanent.

The law was approved by a 14-to-1 vote by city council on May 14, 2015, and the increase in the minimum wage from $9 to $15 was phased in over a five-year period. Last year the law went into effect for large businesses, but small businesses had until Thursday to start giving workers a minimum of $15 an hour.

The ordinance increased the minimum wage starting in July 2016, when it rose to $10.50 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees. The city’s minimum wage increased to $12 per hour in July 2017, $13.25 per hour in July 2018, $14.25 per hour in July 2019, and finally $15 in July 2020.

Companies with 25 or fewer employees were to start raising wages a year later and had until Thursday to hit the $15 an hour mark.

Once wages reach $15 an hour for small and large employers, the ordinance calls for the minimum wage in 2022 to continue to increase based on the cost of living.

“I grew up in a union home, the proud son of a Teamster. I know the importance of providing fair wages to workers,” Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said Thursday. “I also know how important it is to protect and watch over our small businesses.”

“Six years ago, the Los Angeles City Council paved the way for fair-worker, fair-business policy, and today those efforts are paying off in full. After the grueling pandemic and the devastation that ‘she put a strain on working Angelenos, the historic $15 milestone couldn’t come at a better time,’ he said.

David Huerta, president of the Service Employees International Union-United Service Workers West, said:

“Service workers are the backbone of our economy; $15 an hour is a milestone, and it comes at a critical time for all service workers who have worked so hard and served on the front lines during the crisis. COVID-19 pandemic. Fair pay is a necessary ingredient for workers to be treated with dignity, and Los Angeles should be commended for taking the lead on this issue long before others.”

City and Patch News Service member Paige Austin contributed to this report.