LOS ANGELES — In becoming the largest city in the country to mandate a $15-an-hour minimum wage, Los Angeles could put the pressure on other cities in what is sure to become a potent issue in next year’s presidential election.
Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the measure into law Saturday. It will require employers to gradually raise minimum wages until they reach $15 an hour. The first step comes in July, 2016, when the minimum wage becomes $10.50. Then, each following year, it will rise another another step — $12, $13.50, $14.25 and then $15.
In a city where it’s easy to take notice of the relatively high wages for many in the entertainment industry, the higher minimum wage is aimed at lifting the millions who work in service- and food-related jobs — the maids, fast-food employees and others.
“LA as a whole will benefit from this boost: We have always prospered the most when everyone is able to spend money into our economy,” Garcetti said.
Los Angeles follows Seattle and San Francisco, among others, in raising the minimum wage. Last year, Chicago passed a phased-in minimum wage increase to $13 an hour. Depending on whether inflation kicks up, Los Angeles’ law could be eclipsed by the state. California’s Legislature is weighing a bill to raise the minimum wage to $13 in 2017 and step it up after that based on inflation.