[USA] Minimum wage increase for unincorporated Los Angeles County

On July 1, 2019, the minimum wage was increased for several counties and cities in Southern California. This included unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, The Santa Clarita Valley Signal reports.

Following the increase, employers with 26 employees or more must offer a minimum pay of $14.25 an hour. This represents an increase of $1 from last year’s wage. For employers with a staff of 25 or fewer the hourly rate increases from $12 to $13.25.

In the Santa Clarita Valley, the minimum wage increase only impacts areas outside the city of Santa Clarita boundaries - like Castaic and Stevenson Ranch - which follow the county’s minimum wage guidelines.

Employers within the city of Santa Clarita follow the state minimum wage, which was last raised on January 1, 2019. The next date scheduled for a statewide minimum wage rise is January 1, 2020. At which time the minimum will increase to $12 per hour for employers with fewer than 26 employees and $13 per hour for those employing 26 or more.

The California minimum wage has been scheduled to increase to $15 an hour by 2022 for large businesses - those with more than 25 employees - and by 2023 for smaller businesses. This change formed part of a six-year plan created by Senate Bill 3 and signed into law by former Governor Jerry Brown. By 2024 wage changes should alter in line with the Consumer Price Index increase.

Alison Needham from the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp (SCVEDC) said, “The city of Santa Clarita is on a different schedule. Those within the city boundaries get wage increases on Jan. 1 and those in (the) unincorporated county get raises on July 1.”

Ahead of the statewide minimum wage increase in January, a SCVEDC survey demonstrated that more than 70% of local companies surveyed had not incorporated minimum wage increases into their financial plans. According to data, companies had raised prices on products and services to manage the wage changes or taken on fewer employees instead of factoring the increases into their growth plans.

Brian Koegle - a partner at Poole & Shaffery LLP - reportedly cautioned employers of the risks they may face by not staying up to date with county and state mandates for employment when he spoke at an information-sharing event on the minimum wage at College of the Canyons.

Mr Koegle advised employers to work with human resources professionals and legal counsel and to attend information meetings to better understand the scheduled wage increases.