After hearing from the City staff about options for pursuing a citywide minimum wage as high as $15 hour, the committee then went to hear, again, from the public. The restaurant community was certainly the best represented community from the business side, but was matched by community, organized labor, and clergy groups advocating for a $15 wage with no exceptions.
The Committee went into closed session after the public testimony, apparently to discuss the legal ramifications of pursuing tiered wages, including the notion of accounting for a tipped servers "total compensation" in minimum wage calculations. City Attorney Mike Fueur has been the main obstructionist in trying to find a path forward on this issue for the Council. After several requests to opine on the issue of "total compensation"' not a tip credit, some Councilmembers began to discuss frustration with the lack of response from the City Attorney. The City Attorney appears unwilling to provide a public opinion on the matter- counter to the three opinions currently made public by CRA and others that suggest the City Council does have authority to pursue the issue.
Late today and , again, on little notice, the City Council's Economic Development Committee met and eventually came back with the recommendation to raise the Los Angeles citywide minimum wage as follows:
$10.50 in July of 2016
$12.00 in July of 2017
$13.25 in July of 2018
$14.25 in July of 2019
$15.00 in July of 2020
And -attached to the CPI in July of 2021
Also likely to include:
- "Small business exemption" for employers with 25 or fewer employees, would get a one year delay until 2017 until required to pay $10.50.
- "Non profit exemption" for those with 25 or fewer employees generally and don't have to pay $10.50 until 2017.
- "Teen wage" would create a wage of 85% of the minimum wage for those that are between the ages of 14 years old and 17 years old.
- "Service Charges"- an attempt to make these the property of the employee, reversing common California practice of those being controllable by the "house".
The Council also vows to study the impact of the wage increases citywide beginning in 2018.