By Bourree Lam
Tuesday’s vote to raise Los Angeles’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 is being called “the most significant victory so far” in the push to increase the minimum wage nationally. The City Council passed the ordinance 14-1, which will boost the current minimum of $9 in roughly
$1 increments annually over the next five years. The first increase would happen in July 2016, boosting minimum wage to $10.50 an hour.
The response hasn’t been completely positive. While labor unions and supporters of the wage increase are displeased that the ordinance will take place piecemeal over five years, small business owners—who have until 2021 to comply—complain that the nearly 50 percent increase will hurt their bottom line.
“The impact of the council’s endorsement of a $15 minimum wage is huge. Analysis of a similar earlier proposal, raising the rate to $15.25 by 2019, found that more than 600,000 workers—over 40 percent of the L.A. workforce—would ultimately benefit from the increase,” says Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, in a statement.