A Los Angeles City Council Committee on Wednesday voted to hike the citywide minimum wage to $15 an hour, but also to give more time for businesses to comply.
After two hours of public testimony and a closed session, the council’s economic development committee voted unanimously to start increasing the minimum wage in increments a year later than originally proposed.
The first increase, to $10.50 an hour, would take effect on July 1, 2016, a year later than proposed last summer by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. The wage would then rise to $13.25 an hour by July 1, 2018, also a year later than Garcetti had proposed.
Next, the wage would increase to $15 an hour by 2020, instead of by 2019 as had been proposed by a group of councilmembers. Starting in 2021, annual increases in the wage would be tied to a moving 20-year average in the national consumer price index.
The committee also voted to give more time for small business and nonprofits to meet the higher wage levels. Employers with fewer than 25 workers, along with most nonprofits, will have to pay $13.25 by 2019 and $15 by 2021, in each case a year later than large employers.
The committee rejected pleas from restaurant owners to allow tips to count toward the minimum wage and also rejected requests from a wide array of business leaders and owners to scrap the annual indexing to inflation.
The committee recommendations next go to the full City Council, which will debate the issue in coming weeks.
Committee member Paul Krekorian said the proposal represents a compromise between business and labor interests.
“Every minimum wage employee in the city will receive a 50 percent increase in their pay in the next six years,” Krekorian said. “But 89 percent of businesses in this city will also receive an additional year to meet these wage levels.”