How the $15/Hour Minimum Wage Law Might Apply to Your Business
Created by kanowskylaw on 8/3/2016 1:33:33 PM

How the $15/Hour Minimum Wage Law Might Apply to Your Business

So, the State of California passed a $15.00 minimum wage bill to be implemented in steps over the course of several years.  So, that’s all a California employer needs to know to make sure they are compliant with the law about how much they have to pay their employees, right?

Wrong.  Some cities and some counties have adopted their own version of the minimum wage law.  Okay, understanding that, kids working at MagiMountain follow the same wage scale as those working at Lazy Dog at the mall (sorry, Valencia Town Center), right?

Wrong.  Not all cities within the same county have the same laws as each other or even the same as the county.  Well, what about the counter help at In n’ Out on Bouquet Canyon Road?  Are they required to make the same as the counter help at the In n’ Out in Northridge?  After all, they work for the same employer and they’re both in Los Angeles County, so they should be paid the same.

This time “Three time’s a charm” does not apply.  To determine the minimum wage law you must look at the location of the place of employment.

Thus, a minimum wage worker in the City of Los Angeles follows a different scale than one in Santa Clarita which follows a different one in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County (like all the retail and restaurants on The Old Road).

And to make it just a bit more complicated, for some jurisdictions you need to need to see how many employees there are at that particular business.  The magic number is 25.  Twenty-six or more employees at a business in certain locations will reach $15/hour sooner that the neighboring business with only twenty employees.

In an effort to simplify this analysis, I prepared the graph below in hopes of getting a quick answer for most employers who read the Santa Clarita Business Journal. 

Looking at the table you can see that the City of Santa Clarita follows California state law about the timing of the steps to the minimum wage law.  However, keep in mind that this is true only for the incorporated areas of Santa Clarita.  This means that businesses in the Tesoro del Valle region and on The Old Road and in Castaic follow different rules than the ones within city boundaries.

This system of different rules for businesses in different parts of the Santa Clarita Valley (that is, the City and the unincorporated parts) results in a cashier at the Wal Mart on The Old Road having a higher minimum wage than the Wal Marts in Centre Pointe or off of Copperhill.  Will we see employees at the City stores demanding to be moved to the stores in the unincorporated area so they can have a higher pay check?

On the flip side, does the City suddenly look more attractive than the County areas to a relocating business?  After all, it’s arguably cheaper to do business in the City than in the County.

These are some of the questions businesses and their employees will have to wrestle with for the next six or seven years. ©


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