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Employees In West Hollywood Will Earn Highest Minimum Wage In The U.S.

Aerial view of the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood with a tall hotel building in the foreground.
The Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.
(Mike Jiroch
Creative Commons License via Wikimedia Commons)
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Starting next year, the city of West Hollywood will begin implementing the highest minimum wage in the country at $17.64 an hour.

As of New Year's Day, hotel employees in the city will see the bump in their pay. Starting on July 1, all other workers will see incremental raises in their paychecks every six months until their hourly wage reaches the new minimum in July 2023.

West Hollywood's city council unanimously approved the pay hike shortly after midnight Thursday morning.

During the meeting, Councilmember John D'Amico said West Hollywood currently employs 20,000 people, but only 2,000 of the jobs pay well enough to live in the city.

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The wage increase will enable “minimum wage workers to consider and possibly live in the city . . . [and] allow entry level management and others to afford our rents and possibly invest in their own homes," he said.

Councilmember Lindsey Horvath said she backed the measure because “the wealth generated by an increased minimum wage will raise more people into the middle class, drive more consumer spending, and create a more stable, prosperous, and business-friendly economy.”

Over 40 community members from West Hollywood commented on the wage hike during the council meeting, including several business owners who fear the increase could cause them to close their businesses or cut their workforce.

Councilmembers noted that struggling businesses can apply for a one-year waiver to delay the wage increase.

A living wage calculator developed by Dr. Amy Glasmeir at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows that a single person without any children living in L.A. County must earn $19.35 an hour to cover their basic expenses, including health insurance.

The minimum wage in the city of Los Angeles will rise to $15 per hour at the start of next year. The state of California has been gradually increasing the statewide minimum wage, which will reach $15 by next year for employers with more than 25 employees.

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