Los Angeles city council approves minimum wage hike

L.A. Closes in on Approving $15 Minimum Wage

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday gave final approval to an ordinance raising the minimum wage in America's second-largest city to $15 an hour by 2020 from the current $9.

The measure, which still must be signed into law by Mayor Eric Garcetti, would require businesses with more than 25 employees to gradually increase wages to meet a $15 hourly pay level by 2020, while smaller businesses would have an extra year to comply with each step.

Garcetti, a Democrat, has said that he would sign the wage hike into law, seen as a victory for labor and community groups that have successfully pushed for similar pay hikes in other major U.S. cities, including Seattle and San Francisco.

"Today is a great day for Los Angeles and all the people who work hard to make our city a vibrant place to live and work," Rusty Hicks of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor said in a written statement issued after the vote.

Minimum wage protests, rallies for increase
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Los Angeles city council approves minimum wage hike
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (C) speaks in support of raising the minimum wage for the state of New York to $15 per hour on September 10, 2015 in New York City. Biden said he would like to see the federal minimum wage risen to $12 per hour. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Workers who have fought for a raise in the minimum wage celebrate at a political rally where U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced their support to raise the minimum wage for the state of New York to $15 per hour on September 10, 2015 in New York City. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden also said he would like to see the federal minimum wage risen to $12 per hour. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: Protesters in support of a $15 an hour minimum wage stand together on September 10, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles are among cities that have adopted a $15 an hour minimum wages. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, ME - SEPTEMBER 7: Douglas Born, of the Southern Mainen Labor Council, speaks at a labor day rally Monday, September 7, 2015 in Portland, Maine. The rally was aimed at honoring striking FairPoint workers and raising awareness of the effort to increase the minimum wage. (Photo by Joel Page/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON D.C., July 22, 2015-- Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a strike rally, demanding to raise the federal minimum wage to 15 dollars per hour on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., the United States, on July 22, 2015. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22: Labor leaders, workers and activists attend a rally for a $15 minimum hourly wage on July 22, 2015 in New York City. A panel appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo recommended on Wednesday that the minimum wage be raised for employees of fast-food chain restaurants throughout the state. The panel recommended that the $15 rate be phased in by December 31, 2018 for New York City and by July 1, 2021 for the rest of the state. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 22: A protestor holds a sign in Upper Senate Park during a rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 22, 2015, to push for a raise to the minimum wage to $15 an hour. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

"After months of public debate and study, the City Council's vote puts us one step away from changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of hardworking Angelenos," he said. "Though there is still work to be done, all of us in Los Angeles will see the fruits of raising the wage in L.A."

Opponents of minimum wage hikes say they place an undue burden on businesses and will force employers to lay off workers or move.

With the federal minimum wage stagnant at $7.25 an hour since 2009, supporters of raising pay for the lowest paid workers have expressed little hope for an increase from the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress.

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