The Minimum Wage Went Up Over The Weekend

(Photo by frankieleon/Flickr)

A lot of local workers just got a raise, thanks to a minimum wage increase that went into effect on Sunday in many parts of Southern California.

As of July 1, employers in the city of Los Angeles with 26 workers or more have to pay at least $13.25 an hour. The same goes for Pasadena, Santa Monica, Malibu and unincorporated parts of LA County. Employers in those areas with 25 workers or less currently have to pay $12 an hour.

The local wage increases are the latest in a series of pay bumps building up to a $15 minimum wage in coming years. The raises compare to California's current state minimum wage of $11 an hour for large employers and $10.50 an hour for smaller employers.

Not all local employers have been following the increase rules. SoCal wage enforcement officials say they've been making sure employers know the law, but they have encountered some confusion — and some clear wage violations.

John Reamer, director of LA's Bureau of Contract Administration, said, "It seems like there is a genuine desire to want to know how this works, both for the employee and employer."

However, Reamer said LA has seen an increase in worker complaints over the past fiscal year. He said since 2016, employers in the city have paid workers more than $180,000 in restitution for minimum wage violations.

Since the minimum wage increase schedule went into effect:

  • LA County has collected $108,023.58 in back pay stemming from 83 investigations.
  • Santa Monica has brought in $37,700.84.
  • In Pasadena, code compliance manager Jon Pollard said the city has confirmed 10 cases in which employers violated the minimum wage, leading to workers receiving more than $25,000 in back wages.