Cities’ wage laws vary sharply

On the eve of L.A.’s vote to bump pay, here’s how other cities han­dle salary hikes.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - ALICE WAL­TON alice.wal­ton@la­times.com Fol­low @TheCi­tyMaven for more news from L.A. City Hall.

On the eve of L.A.’s vote to bump earn­ings, a look at how other cities han­dle pay over­hauls.

As­sum­ing Los An­ge­les law­mak­ers vote as ex­pected Wed­nes­day to in­crease the min­i­mum wage, the city will join San Fran­cisco, Chicago, Seat­tle and other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that have boosted base pay for work­ers.

But a com­par­i­son shows the similarities largely stop there. De­tails of the plans and how they would ap­ply to var­i­ous types of em­ploy­ers and work­ers vary con­sid­er­ably from city to city.

L.A.’s pro­posal would in­crease the min­i­mum wage to $10.50 on July 1. It then would in­crease ev­ery year un­til it reaches $15 on July 1, 2020. Busi­nesses with 25 or fewer em­ploy­ees would have an ad­di­tional year to com­ply.

Non­prof­its with 26 or more em­ploy­ees could de­lay im­ple­men­ta­tion for a year if

they meet one of th­ese cri­te­ria:

The chief ex­ec­u­tive makes less than five times the low­est wage paid to an em­ployee;

The non­profit hires tran­si­tional em­ploy­ees as part of work­force train­ing pro­grams;

The non­profit pro­vides child care;

It is funded pri­mar­ily by gov­ern­ment grants.

Teenagers also would be treated dif­fer­ently. Those 14 to 17 years old and clas­si­fied as “learn­ers” could be paid 85% of the min­i­mum wage for the first 160 weeks on the job.

Los An­ge­les of­fi­cials say the new pay re­quire­ments would ap­ply to any em­ployee who works at least two hours a week within the city. And, as cur­rently drafted, union­ized em­ploy­ees would not be ex­empt from the min­i­mum wage law.

Here are high­lights of the pro­grams adopted by other cities:

Seat­tle: The min­i­mum wage will reach $15 an hour in 2017. Com­pa­nies with 500 or fewer work­ers will have a slower phase-in pe­riod. They must reach the $15 thresh­old by 2019, or 2021 if they pro­vide med­i­cal benefits. A cov­ered em­ployee is any­one who works in the city for more than two hours in a two-week pe­riod. The law does not in­clude an ex­emp­tion for work­ers cov­ered by col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ments.

San Fran­cisco: In July 2018, the min­i­mum wage will reach $15 for em­ploy­ees who work at least two hours a week. The or­di­nance ap­plies to both adults and teen- agers. But union­ized work­ers may reach their own agree­ments with em­ploy­ers that pay dif­fer­ent wages. Tips do not count to­ward the min­i­mum wage.

Oak­land: As in San Fran­cisco, em­ploy­ees who work at least two hours a week are cov­ered by the law. As of March 2, the min­i­mum wage was $12.25. The hourly wage will con­tinue to in­crease ev­ery year on Jan. 1 based on the Con­sumer Price In­dex. Teenagers may earn the full min­i­mum wage, but union­ized em­ploy­ees may be ex­empt. Tipped em­ploy­ees also re­ceive the full wage.

Chicago: The min­i­mum hourly wage will be $13 by 2019. Em­ploy­ees younger than 18 may be paid 50 cents less per hour. That’s also true for other em­ploy­ees in the first 90 days on the job. Union­ized work­ers can ne­go­ti­ate a dif­fer­ent wage struc­ture. Em­ploy­ers may pay tipped work­ers less than the city’s min­i­mum wage.

Wash­ing­ton, D.C.: Wages will in­crease to $11.50 in July 2016. There is no ex­emp­tion for work­ers cov­ered by col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ments. Restau­rant em­ploy­ees may be paid $2.77 per hour, as long as they make enough in tips to bring them up to the dis­trict’s min­i­mum wage.

The Los An­ge­les City Coun­cil is ex­pected to take up the min­i­mum wage or­di­nance at its 10 a.m. meet­ing Wed­nes­day.

Ge­naro Molina Los An­ge­les Times

WORK­ERS RE­JOICE af­ter learn­ing that Los An­ge­les plans to raise its min­i­mum wage to $15 per hour.

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