Los Angeles Approves Health Care Worker Wage Hike

Los Angeles Approves Health Care Worker Wage Hike
Clinicians care for COVID-19 patients in the improvised COVID-19 unit at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles, Calif., on July 30, 2021. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles City Council gave final approval on June 29 to an ordinance raising the minimum wage for people working at some privately owned health care facilities in the city to $25 per hour.

The "Minimum Wage for Employees Working at Healthcare Facilities" initiative, which was brought to the council through a successful petition drive, will now move to the mayor's office for final consideration. The ordinance raises the workers' minimum wage, adjusting it annually to account for increases in the cost of living.

The ordinance applies only to privately owned facilities, including hospitals, clinics, skilled nursing facilities, or residential care facilities. It applies to workers including clinicians, nursing assistants, aides, technicians, maintenance workers, janitors, housekeepers, clerical workers, and administrative workers.

The council had the choice of either adopting the initiative or putting it before voters. On a 10–2 vote on June 21—with Councilmen Joe Buscaino and Paul Krekorian opposing—the council opted to adopt the measure without going to a public vote. Because the vote was not unanimous, the issue had to return for a second vote, and on Wednesday, it was approved on a 10–0 vote. Neither Buscaino nor Krekorian voted on the issue.

The ordinance also prohibits employers from funding the minimum wage increase by laying off workers or reducing benefits or hours.

People who work for health care facilities in Los Angeles do not have their own minimum wage law and are included under the city's general minimum wage of $15, which will increase to $16.04 on Friday. Los Angeles' minimum wage is based on the region's Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

City News Service contributed to the report.