Board to Take Up Living Wage for County Contracts

living wage

Hoping to improve the lives of thousands of residents who live with salaries that are below the minimum wage, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has asked for a review of a new living wage standard offered by the county to contract employees based on today’s housing and consumer costs.

Given the local cost of living, Los Angeles County residents who work in low-wage jobs barely make sufficient income to afford the cost of housing, utilities, transportation, food and savings for emergencies and retirement.

“The prevailing wage offered by the county to contract employees should reflect a wage rate that rewards their hard work, meets minimum standards of living and enhances self-sufficiency,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who authored the motion asking for the review of the living wage. “When we provide a decent wage, all of society benefits.”

County government should also minimize the tax-payer subsidy granted to employers which in practice keeps a low-wage workforce reliant on public assistance programs to meet their basic needs. At the current hourly rate afforded County contract workers under the County’s Living Wage Ordinance, a worker with health benefits earns annually $20,051.20 (or $1,670.93 per month) if employed in a 40 hour per week job.

The motion directs the Chief Executive Officer to estimate the hourly wage a worker who resides in Los Angeles County needs to earn to meet the basic subsistence needs for a single adult, a single parent family with one dependent child, a two parent family (one parent working) with one and two dependent children and a two working parent family with one and two dependent children in the Los Angeles region. The Living Wage Annual Report is due in 120 days.