West Hollywood’s city council is set to vote on hiking the local minimum wage to $17.64 an hour, which would be the highest in the United States.
The ordinance, which is scheduled for a vote Wednesday, would take effect in January 2022 for hotel workers and in July 2022 for all other workers. It would be higher than California’s recently passed minimum wage hike to $14 an hour, the highest state-wide minimum wage in the country.
West Hollywood’s current minimum wage ranges between $13 and $14 an hour depending on the number of employees each business has.
The city of Emeryville, California currently holds the record for America’s highest minimum wage, after it raised it to $17.13 an hour this past July. In comparison, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn’t budged since 2009.
West Hollywood explained in the ordinance that hiking the minimum wage would “keep workers and their families out of poverty” and “enable workers to meet basic needs and avoid economic hardship.”
Companies have been increasing the starting wages for new hires. Costco recently increased its minimum wage from $16 an hour to $17. That new starting wage puts the chain — which has among the lowest turnover rates in the retail industry — $2 per hour above Amazon, Target and other top retailer’s starting wages, and $5 an hour above Walmart, America’s largest employer.
There is increasing pressure on companies to raise wages as they compete for labor. Average hourly pay for retail workers increased 3.8% in September from the same time last year, according to the latest data from the Labor Department.
President Joe Biden, along with other Democrats, have voiced support for an increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour. However, those efforts have failed to gain momentum.
Biden has signed an executive order lifting the minimum wage for federal contract workers from $10.95 an hour to $15 beginning in early 2022.
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