Late last month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors directed the County Counsel to take steps to increase the the minimum wage for the entire county in the same increments as in the ordinance passed recently by the L.A. City Council. Ultimately, if this becomes law, the minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour throughout the entire county, not just in the city of Los Angeles and after 2021, the minimum wage will increase automatically along with the rate of inflation. The law is expected to be considered by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors in the Fall. These drastic increases in the minimum wage (more than twice the federal minimum wage) have come under intense criticism by some economists who believe that they will lead to job loss, lowered profitability and increased automation, especially in industries like hospitality and restaurants, where minimum wage jobs are more prevalent. Others have targeted unions who fought for the minimum wage increase only to seek to be exempted from the law — a means of presenting themselves as a low-cost alternative to employers in those industries.
Minimum wage increases on the local level are definitely a trend as states and Congress delay any action on a minimum wage increase. The minimum wage may well be a patchwork quilt throughout the country in a few years, placing the burden squarely on private industry to figure it out as they open offices in different cities.