Some Fear $15 Wage Minimums Will Drive Jobs Out of L.A.

A recent opinion column in the Orange County Register takes an employer-favored look at how a $15 minimum wage could drive jobs out of California, even though there are nearby places like Orange County that are not subject to Los Angeles’ minimum wage law.

success1-srb-1237575Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles are increasing their respective minimum wages, so they will be at $15 by the year 2021.  The minimum wage for the county and city will gradually increase to this number, and, unless the state minimum wage is raised again, it will be $5 more per hour than what the state requires. It is always possible for a local jurisdiction such as a city or county to have a higher minimum wage than the state, but they cannot ever have a lower minimum wage, as that would be in violation of state law.

According to the columnist, Orange County would be at the federal minimum wage of around $7 had it not been for the state of California raising the state minimum wage to $10.  In other words, the local law makers in Orange County are happy to have workers paid the lowest rate allowed by federal law under the assumption that it is good for business to pay their employees less.

Opponents of a fair living wage argue, while it may help some workers, raising the minimum wage will increase the cost of labor to the point where companies will be forced to go out of business, and then everyone will be out of a job. They claim this is a well established rule of economics, but they do not seem to have any statistics from other areas that raised their minimum wage to support such a proposition, or any evidence to support their claims.  This was when they talked of raising the state minimum wage to over $12.

They claim that if this happens, the store would first have to cut employees to pay the workers that are retained, and then they will eventually not be able to pay these workers.   At this point, the business will fall apart. The fact that this particular corporation chose not to open a big box store in Los Angeles County said cited the minimum wage was a factor in their decision, and also that the store did not open in Orange County where the rate is not as high was used to support their theory.  The problem with this argument is that the company was never going to open up a store in Orange County.  This is likely because they did not feel there was a big enough market of customers living there or working there to support a new super store.

Regardless of the minimum wage, it is important to make sure your employer is not taking advantage of you and paying you less than you legally deserve.  If you feel you are a victim of wage discrimination or employee misclassification, you should speak with an experienced Orange County employment lawyer to discuss your rights to a full and appropriate financial recovery.

Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 714-937-2020.

Additional Resources:

A $15-an-hour minimum wage would drive jobs out of California, not to O.C., February 15, 2016, OC Register, By John Seiler

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