California city considers requiring highest minimum wage in the nation

The West Hollywood City Council in California is considering increasing the minimum wage to the highest in the nation: $17.64 an hour.

"We’re not saying that we don’t agree with reaching the objective of livable workforce wages. It’s just not the time to do it, and to do it so big," Keith Kaplan, trustee of the Pandemic Recovery Coalition, told KTLA of the potential increase. "The restaurants, the retailers, the hotels, they can’t survive it."

The city council was set to vote on increasing the minimum wage to $17.64 an hour on Monday night, but postponed their meeting until Wednesday, Fox 11 reported.


Initially, considerations over the wage increase were only intended for hotel workers, but the city council said that "if the minimum wage is appropriate for hotel workers, it is also appropriate for all workers in the city."

"I’m just not sure why we would have a different minimum wage for any employee," Councilmember John D’Amico said at a meeting on the matter last month. "We should choose the highest one and make that what our minimum wage is."


"I don’t think we should have a different wage tier for non-employees of hotels. I think that everyone should have the same minimum wage in our city."

If the ordinance is passed, hotel workers would begin receiving $17.64 an hour on Jan. 1, 2022. Workers in other sectors would see the bump starting July 1 of the same year.

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California’s current minimum wage is $13 an hour if an employer has 25 workers or fewer. The minimum wage sits at $14 an hour for employees of companies with 26 or more staffers. The wages for both groups will go up $1 at the start of 2022.

Emeryville, California, currently has the nation’s highest minimum wage at $17.13 an hour, followed by Seattle at $16.69 an hour, and Sunnyvale, California, at $16.30 an hour.