California City Now Boasts The Highest Minimum Wage In The Country

Arbiter Writing

As of New Years Day, the State of California has offered the highest minimum wage across the United States. Now, West Hollywood is taking compensation a step further.

The Raw Numbers

West Hollywood began 2022 offering hotel workers a minimum wage of $17.64 per hour, which will soon go into effect for workers of all industries as early as July. This figure bumps workers in the area to a rate of compensation that doubles that of federal, which still sits at $7.25 per hour without a state-imposed minimum as of 2009.

Additionally, this amount also exceeds earnings living in Emeryville, which previously held the top minimum wage in the nation of $17.13 per hour.

A full-time staffer at a hotel in West Hollywood now earns $2.00 more than the minimum wage imposed by the state, and $211 greater on a biweekly basis than workers living several doors down in Sunset Boulevard, who are still privy to the state's minimum.

Life Is Still Expensive

However, the lowest wage earners of West Hollywood won't necessarily live a life that is comparable in luxury to those in the city. In accordance with data by Redfin, the median cost of a house in the area exceeds just over $1,100,000. This would require a worker to earn an annual income of six figures to afford such a living space.

The City Council approved this hike in pay during November 2021 to assist workers in maintaining a basic state of living where the fixed rate is estimated at $19.35 per hour in accordance with a study issued by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

As the cost of living continues to rise in all places, it is becoming more expensive to raise families, work, and generally live. Lindsay Horvath, a member of the council, believes the new minimum wage should reflect such a reality.

Furthermore, this new ordinance mandated that workers receive more than 72 hours of paid sick leave and 96 hours of paid leave in general. Hotel workers now have the added benefit of receiving 80 hours of unpaid sick leave.

While California houses the largest number of billionaires in the country, it also houses a significant portion of those suffering from extreme poverty. As such, it is attempting to alleviate the income gap through this increase in the minimum wage.

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