Minimum wage in L.A. rises to $16.04 an hour beginning today

As of today, the minimum wage rises to $16.04 an hour in the city of Los Angeles and $15.96 in unincorporated L.A. County.


Minimum wage workers in Los Angeles will see their pay increase to $16.04 an hour starting Friday, while a statewide initiative that would have increased pay to $18 an hour by 2025 failed to garner enough signatures to make the November ballot.

Workers in unincorporated L.A. County will also see their minimum hourly wage rise, to $15.96, following an increase last year to about $15 an hour.

Efforts to increase the minimum wage were spearheaded by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who announced the city’s hike in February.


This city’s increase is expected to benefit more than 600,000 L.A. residents, according to Garcetti’s office.

“We fought to raise the minimum wage because hard work should always be met with the dignity, respect, and opportunity that fair pay brings,” Garcetti said in a statement announcing the decision. “Our decision to end poverty wages in L.A. caused a ripple effect across the nation, and this additional increase is the latest reason to celebrate today — and a reminder of how our fight for better wages is far from finished.”

The raise affects any employee who works at least two hours a week within the geographic boundaries of the city of Los Angeles and is entitled to earn the California minimum wage, according to the city’s Bureau of Contract Administration. This includes full-time, part-time and temporary workers, regardless of immigration status.

The increase applies to businesses of all sizes.

“Our Office of Wage Standards will remain committed to protecting vulnerable workers from experiencing wage theft to advance labor standards in the city,” John L. Reamer Jr., inspector of public works and director of the Bureau of Contract Administration, said in the statement. “This is an important step to address economic realities for every Angeleno who is working hard to support themselves and their families.”

The county’s wage hike was announced by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs back in March. The increase of almost a dollar was in accordance with the county’s rising consumer price index.

In 2016, the county adopted an ordinance that increased the minimum wage by predetermined steps annually. Workers saw their hourly wage increase slowly at large businesses from $10.50 in 2016 to $15 in 2020. At smaller businesses, wages increased at the same rate from 2017 to 2021.


A landmark ordinance boosting the minimum wage in Los Angeles won approval Wednesday from the City Council despite a variety of unresolved issues about how the law would work.

June 3, 2015

However, starting Friday, a new county ordinance orders that the minimum wage be adjusted annually based on the consumer price index.

Rather than by fixed amounts, future increases will be determined by a formula that takes the CPI, which tracks fluctuations in the prices of goods and services, into account.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors put the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs in charge of wage-informing, education and enforcement of the minimum wage, which will apply to both small and large businesses, unlike the previous ordinance.

“We will ensure that workers in unincorporated L.A. County are protected and aware of the updated minimum wage, and we will work with our sister departments to support employers that may need assistance with information, compliance, and access to resources,” Rafael Carbajal, director of the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs said in a video statement.

Many celebrated the increase as a meaningful step for low-wage workers. Others expressed concerns that it would cripple businesses already hurting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nov. 5, 2021

Other nearby cities, including Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Malibu and Pasadena, have their own minimum wage increases going into effect Friday.

L.A.’s increase precedes a proposed ballot initiative, the Living Wage Act of 22, that failed to reach the necessary signatures to make the ballot this November. The initiative would have increased the state minimum wage to $18 an hour over several years.


Advocates have called for increasing the minimum wage as families battle inflation.

“Although this is a good thing that workers are getting a raise, the reality of it all is that even $16 an hour minimum wage, as a result of the CPI increase, it’s still a struggle for working people to survive in Los Angeles,” David Huerta, the president of Service Employees International Union-United Service Workers West, told City News Service.

Joe Sanberg and other anti-poverty activists say California’s current path to a $15 hourly minimum wage isn’t enough given rising living costs.

Dec. 6, 2021