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L.A. could make history on minimum wage and paid family leave

To the editor: On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council could enact one of the nation's most aggressive plans to address urban poverty by approving a minimum wage increase to $15 by 2020. ("Quiet action on paid leave casts doubt on City Council's openness," editorial, May 17)

Over the course of seven months, the council committee that I chair, the Economic Development Committee, has held more than seven meetings and spent countless hours debating this issue. But as we near closer to making this proposal a reality, concerns have been raised around recommendations to include a paid time off component.

The Times writes that my call for a policy "consistent" with previous city wage policies meant 96 hours of paid time off for all workers, which has been the city's standard. My committee has been accused of adding the provision unexpectedly. We heard from dozens of people during our hearings who talked about how critical paid leave is to their livelihood.

Paid leave has also been included in every wage policy approved in Los Angeles since 1997. Each of those ordinances has helped cement L.A.'s commitment to the idea that paid time off should not be a luxury for a few but a right for all.

I urge my colleagues to have the courage to pass a comprehensive wage policy for our city that lifts workers out of poverty while giving them the right to care for themselves and their families without fear of losing their means for survival.

Curren D. Price Jr., Los Angeles

The writer is a member of the Los Angeles City Council.

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