piggybankWorkers across Los Angeles cheered last month when the Los Angeles City Council approved a minimum wage increase for workers at large hotels, which will now be the nation’s highest minimum wage rate.

On September 24, 2014, the Los Angeles City Council voted to establish $15.37 minimum wage for workers at Los Angeles hotels with at least 125 guest rooms.  The move comes on the heels of similar wage increases that have occurred in nearby Seattle and San Francisco.  The new wage laws will take effect in July, 2015 for hotels with more than 300 rooms, and July, 2016 for hotels between 125 and 300 rooms.  American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California estimates that up to $13,000 low-income workers could be affected. In addition to raising wages for hotel workers, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has proposed to raise minimum wage to $13.25 for all businesses in the city.

Los Angeles’ current minimum wage is $9 per hour, set to go up to $10 per hour starting January 1, 2016.

California labor laws require minimum wages and  overtime pay to be paid for all “nonexempt” employees after eight hours of work in one workday or 40 hours in one work-week, plus additional “premium” overtime pay for hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work in any one work week.  California law is more favorable to employees than federal law under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which only requires overtime pay for nonexempt private sector employees who worked in excess of 40 hours per workweek. California labor laws also require employers to provide unpaid lunch and meal periods for nonexempt employees.  An employer who fails to provide an employee with a meal or rest period as required by an applicable IWC Wage Order is liable for paying each affected employee one hour’s pay each day the employee is not provided the appropriate meal or rest period.

If you or a loved one is not being paid minimum wage, being given rest breaks, meal breaks, or being treated fairly under California’s wage and hour laws, please feel free to contact us for a confidential consultation.