LA County Minimum Wage Is Different than the California State Minimum Wage
Did you know that the minimum wage for those that work in small businesses within unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County is higher than the minimum wage set by the State of California? Let’s take a closer look at Los Angeles County’s ever-changing minimum wage laws.
What is the current LA County minimum wage?
The current minimum wage standards for unincorporated Los Angeles County as of July 1, 2022 are:
Large Employers with 26 or More Employees
- $15.96 per hour. The CA state min wage is $15.00 per hour.
Small Employers with 25 Employees or Less
- $15.96 per hour. The CA state min wage is currently $14.00 per hour for small businesses.
This minimum wage set by LA County for those who work in unincorporated areas applies to employees if they work at least two hours a week, regardless of their immigration or work status. Thanks to a county ordinance, the minimum wage in unincorporated areas of the county has risen between $0.75-$1.50 every year since 2016. After July 1, 2021, the unincorporated LA County minimum wage rose to $15.00 per hour for small employers, matching the minimum wage for larger businesses in the county.
When is the CA state minimum wage going to increase?
According to a California statute passed in 2016, the CA state min wage for employers with 25 or fewer employees is set to increase to $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2023.
However, California law also includes a provision that adjusts the minimum wage with inflation. If inflation exceeds 7% in 2022, the statewide minimum wage will rise to $15.50 per hour in 2023, regardless of the number of employees a business may have. Governor Newsom announced in May 2022 that this increase was likely.
Moreover, a ballot initiative to increase the statewide minimum wage to $18.00 per hour has gathered enough signatures to land on the ballot for the 2022 general election. If passed, the statewide minimum wage will increase to $16.00 per hour on January 1, 2023, and would increase annually before eventually reaching $18.00 per hour.
When is the LA County minimum wage going to increase?
On July 1, 2022, the minimum wage in unincorporated areas of LA County rose from $15 per hour to $15.96 per hour for both small and large businesses. This change was made in response to widespread inflation following the 2020-2022 pandemic.
LA County often increases its minimum wage at a faster rate than the state of California, largely due to the high cost of living in the county. Pending statewide minimum wage legislation, this minimum wage is likely to increase even more.
What areas in LA County are “unincorporated?”
The “unincorporated” areas of LA County include neighborhoods outside of incorporated cities. These neighborhoods can be standalone communities (e.g. Acton or Lake Los Angeles) or can be wedged between other incorporated cities, such as East Pasadena or Altadena.
Unincorporated areas are governed by the County and are therefore subject to the LA County minimum wage ordinance.
What is the minimum wage in incorporated areas of LA County?
Incorporated cities in LA County can either follow the California statewide minimum wage or enact their own wage ordinance.
For example, in our home city of Lancaster, CA—which lies in LA County but does not have its own minimum wage ordinance—the statewide minimum wage applies: $15 per hour for businesses with 26 or more employees and $14 per hour for businesses with 25 or fewer employees.
On the other hand, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti announced in February 2022 that the minimum wage within the City of Los Angeles would rise to $16.04 per hour on July 1, 2022. This is higher than both the LA County minimum wage and the California statewide minimum wage.
To find out if your workplace is in a city or an unincorporated community in LA County, visit our Minimum Wage Lawyers page for more information.
Does my employer have to tell me the minimum wage?
All employers in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County must post a workplace poster in an area visible to employees that notes the current minimum wage rates and the schedule on which it continues to increase. Some employers may try to avoid paying the LA County minimum wage by paying the CA minimum wage instead, failing to raise minimum wage rates each year according to the schedule, and/or failing to post this poster.
Despite working full-time, it is an unfortunate reality that many LA County residents are unable to pay for their family’s basic necessities such as food, clothing, and safe housing. PARRIS Law Firm applauds these efforts by LA County and the City of Los Angeles to provide a better living wage for its residents.
If you believe you are not being paid the current legal minimum wage or are experiencing other employment rights violations, contact PARRIS lawyers for a free case evaluation by calling 661-942-7869. PARRIS handles all wage and employment law cases on a contingency basis, meaning you pay no fees until we win you compensation.