West Hollywood will soon have the highest minimum wage in the nation as the city council passed a motion to increase it to $17.64 an hour. Hotel workers will see a minimum wage of $17.64 starting 1 January, and all other employees will begin seeing a rise in July 2022. Currently, the city of Emeryville, California holds the record for America's highest minimum wage, after it raised it to $17.13 an hour this past July. In comparison, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn't budged since 2009.
The council says it took the action to “keep workers and their families out of poverty” and to “enable workers to meet basic needs and avoid economic hardship”—an especially high bar in Los Angeles, where MIT estimates the minimum living wage to be $19.35 an hour.
“As we recover from the pandemic, it is important to ensure recovery includes everyone,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Sepi Shyne. “There is undeniable income inequality in this nation and wages have remained stagnant compared to the growing cost of living. This has caused workers to remain in poverty no matter how hard they work. I am proud of our unanimous decision last night to raise the minimum wage for workers to one of the highest levels in the country and include sick leave and personal time off provisions for all. West Hollywood has now proclaimed that we want our workers to be as successful as our businesses. We took into account the needs of working people as well as the requests from businesses to phase in the higher wage. West Hollywood has always been a creative leader on many fronts and now we are a leader in creating equity for workers and helping to close the gap in income inequality.”
“Raising the minimum wage to the highest in the country is us using our small shoe, our 1.9 square-mile shoe, that we know leaves an enormous footprint,” said Councilmember John D’Amico. “We can change the world and I have a sense we are starting something much bigger for workers across the country.”
The City Council of the City of West Hollywood has unanimously approved a draft Ordinance to establish a citywide minimum wage and guaranteed leave provisions. The draft Ordinance will create a hotel worker minimum wage of $17.64 per hour starting on January 1, 2022, and will create a phased approach for minimum wage increases for large businesses and small businesses starting on January 1, 2022 with adjustments every six months to create consistency in the minimum wage citywide by July 1, 2023. Starting on July 1, 2023, the citywide minimum wage for all businesses will be $17.64 (plus two cost of living adjustments as part of the phased schedule for increases). The City Council approved a revised version of the draft Ordinance at its Adjourned City Council Meeting, which took place on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 Via