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Beverly Hills News – Chamber Urges Members to Attend Council Meeting on Minimum Wage

Posted: Sunday, January 31, 2016 – 2:30 PM

By Victoria Talbot

The Beverly Hills City Council will be discussing whether the City will adopt a new minimum wage within the City. The discussion will take place in Council Chambers Tuesday afternoon during the City Council Study Session. The following email was sent out to Beverly Hills Chamber Members from Andy Sywak, director of legislative affairs for the Chamber:

As many of you know, the Beverly Hills City Council has previously discussed whether or not to increase the minimum wage in the city as Los Angeles and other cities in the area have recently done. On Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 2:30 p.m., the Council will once again revisit the issue. The City and the Chamber are eager to hear direct input and feedback from the business community on this issue and urge businesses who want to be heard on the matter to attend. This is an important opportunity for businesses to influence a key decision in the city.

If you are interested in speaking before the City Council, please come to the Council Chambers on the 2nd Floor at City Hall by 3 p.m. this coming Tuesday (the item is 2nd on the agenda) and fill out a yellow speaker card. City Hall is located at 455 N. Rexford Drive with free two-hour parking located across the street.

If the Council decides to adopt a new minimum wage, they will direct staff to bring back an ordinance for ‘first reading’ and ‘second reading’ at subsequent Council meetings.

 

In the next three years, the University of California and several California cities will raising their minimum wage to $15/hour. These measures come in response to California having the highest poverty rate in the nation as well as the highest cost of living. 

The increases in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Los Angeles are leading the way to a possible state-wide increase.

On January 14, 2016, the Westside Cities Council of Governments approved a work plan to explore regional knowledge exchange and initiatives to streamline implementation activities of a new minimum wage, should the City proceed in favor of a new minimum wage. Topics to be reviewed include regional communications to businesses, compliance and enforcement, among others. The City of Beverly Hills will play a key role in this effort, with Deputy City Manager Cheryl Friedling representing the City in a newly-created working group.

Policy Issues Several policy issues require Council direction. These include:

These include: a) Wage Theft The Council directed staff to explore the issue of wage enforcement to review provisions to protect employees from wage theft. Page 3 of 7 The City Attorney’s Office has researched this topic and offers the following: Wage theft is common, often difficult to prosecute, and wages often go unrecovered. The most common forms of wage theft include failing to pay the minimum wage or earned overtime or not providing meal and rest breaks, illegal paycheck deductions, failure to provide a final pay check and misclassification of workers as independent contractors.

Meaningful enforcement measures and strong retaliation protections may make employees feel more comfortable bringing claims forward, and that employers will comply with regulations. Currently, employees with wage claims pursuant to state law can file their claims directly with the State Labor Commissioner’s Office, also known as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). If adopting a local minimum wage different than the State, the City would need to educate the community, businesses, and workers about the new requirements; respond to inquiries; and investigate and prosecute claims. Most cities adopting local ordinances have included a series of provisions to deter employers from committing wage violations and provide workers protection

In San Francisco, enforcement has led to 90.5% collection of full back wages. Los Angeles is moving in that direction and the City of Santa Monica is in the process of the second reading of a wage-theft ordinance.

 

 

 

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