On May 19 of this year, Los Angeles lawmakers voted 14 – 1 to raise the minimum wage to $15.00 by 2020. That makes L.A. the largest city to significantly raise the minimum wage, which is currently at $9.00 . The increase would take place in stages with the first one happening on July 1, 2016. On that day, the wage would rise to $10.50. There would be subsequent yearly increases after that until the minimum wage had reached $15.00. Two years later subsequent increases would be tied to the Consumer Price Index. The results could help as many as 800,000 workers .
Non-profit organizations with fewer than 25 employees won’t have to start increasing their wages until 2017, and organized labor had supported an increase to $15.25, and they had wanted it to happen less gradually.
Other cities, including Seattle, San Francisco, and Chicago, have also raised the minimum wage. New York City and Washington, D.C. are also considering going up to $15.00. The Democratic Party has put increasing the federal minimum wage on the forefront of their agenda and the future landscape of minimum wage earners is changing .
Reactions to the Increase
Opponents of the increase, including many business groups, say the increases would hurt businesses by increasing labor costs. Some predicted that many companies would absorb the costs by reducing workers’ hours, laying off employees, or even moving to another city .
Supporters of the increase believed it would greatly benefit Los Angeles’ poorest workers, some of whom agree with that assessment. Juan Moran, a line cook in Little Tokyo, told the council he couldn’t live on his current wage of $9.00 an hour. He told of working 12-hour shifts to pay rent, and of not always being able to afford bus fare .
There’s no denying the increase in debt in the economy and the shrinking of the middle class. Structured Settlement plans and payout cash companies like myLumpsum.com report their funding is increased these past years. More and more middle class Americans are suffering the costs of earning less.
Housing Wage vs. Minimum Wage
Such difficulties don’t come as a surprise to the researchers for the National Low Income Housing Coalition, who put out a report about the “fundamental mismatch” between people’s income and the price of rent. According to their report, the overall average housing wage is $15.50 for a one-bedroom apartment and $19.35 for a two-bedroom apartment. The housing wage is an estimate of how much a full-time worker would need to earn in order to both afford an apartment and not spend over 30 percent of their money on it . That last bit is important, since people also have to pay for food, electricity, doctor bills, and other expenses.
The report found there is no state in which a person could work for the federal minimum wage (7.25 an hour) at a 40 hour week, and be able to afford a one-bedroom apartment. In most of California, it would take a minimum wage employee 92 hours to pay the rent and in Hawaii, that employee would have to work 125 hours.
There’s no denying the changes happening are not without reason. Minimum wage earners are barely scraping by in large cities and stories continue to come forth about living on minimum wage and the changing times of this economy. Supporters of these efforts and doing their best to bring changes to every city in America so the bottom line is raised and it boosts costs of businesses around the country .