Minimum Wage Roundup

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Here is a look at some of this week’s minimum wage stories from around the country. The American Booksellers Association is encouraging its members to reach out to town, county, or state officials to ensure they have a voice in any minimum wage discussions that take place in their communities.

California: Los Angeles Minimum Wage Set to Increase July 1

On July 1, 2016, Los Angeles’ minimum wage is set to increase to $10.50 per hour for large employers with 26 full-time equivalent employees or more. The minimum wage will be phased in gradually to $15 per hour by the year 2020 for large employers. Smaller employers — those with fewer than 26 employees — will be required to pay a minimum wage of $10.50 as of July 1, 2017, as reported by Employment Law Watch, which provides a useful graphic on the wage increase schedule.

Employment Law Watch noted that the wage ordinance will be enforced by the Los Angeles Wage Enforcement Division, and that employees have the right to file a complaint or inform the Division about any violation without fear of retaliation.

New Jersey: State Assembly Approves $15 Minimum Wage

On Thursday, May 26, New Jersey’s assembly passed legislation to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2021, as reported by Fox 29. The hourly minimum wage will first increase to $10.10 from $8.38 per hour on January 1, 2017. The legislation also increases the hourly wage by $1.25 each year or $1 plus an adjustment for inflation, whichever is greater, the article noted.

It is unclear whether Governor Chris Christie would sign the bill if passed by the New Jersey Senate, though he has criticized the bill, arguing that businesses would have to increase prices by 10 to 15 percent to pay the higher wage. Business groups object to the legislation, arguing that it inflates the cost of goods and labor.

Vermont: Gubernatorial Candidate Galbraith Calls for $15 Minimum Wage

In a press release, Vermont Gubernatorial candidate Peter Galbraith pledged that, if he were elected governor, he would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Noting how protestors in Chicago shut down McDonald’s headquarters on May 25 to demand a $15 minimum wage, Galbraith stated: “Today is the day of McDonald’s annual shareholders meeting and they have much to cheer. But this is about the workers who made [CEO Steve] Easterbrook’s multi-million dollar paycheck possible. A $15 minimum wage is a 50 percent wage increase. It’s the best anti-poverty measure that Vermont can adopt and will benefit everyone. Low wage workers spend nearly all of their extra income and they spend it locally, which helps Vermont businesses.”