Atlanta Minimum Wage Increase Debate

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Should Atlanta Follow LA’s Lead & Increase the Min. Wage to $15 by 2020?

Should Atlanta Follow LA’s Lead & Increase the Min. Wage to $15 by 2020?

Recently, the Los Angeles City Council sent a bold message to employers and workers, as it passed a new ordinance that would increase the minimum wage in the county to $15 by 2020. This move, which follows similar efforts in Seattle, San Francisco and other cities in the U.S. to boost the minimum wage, seems to be gaining attention and traction across the nation.

And, perhaps, just as interestingly, it seems to be motivating some large employers – including Walmart and Target – to follow suit and issue their own policies to increase their minimum wages for employees.

How the Minimum Wage Hikes Work

The cities and counties that have already instituted minimum wage increases have planned for these boosts to happen incrementally, over the course of years, with some of these laws having different time lines for different sized employers/companies.

Here’s a look at just some of the planned minimum wage increases from across the nation:

  • In Seattle, the min. wage increase will result in a rate of $15/hr by 2018.
  • In San Francisco, the rate will also increase to $15/hr by 2018.
  • In San Diego, the rate will increase to $11.70/hr by 2017.
  • In Chicago, the rate will increase to $13/hr by 2019.

Opposition to the Minimum Wage Increases

While the minimum wage increases that are occurring throughout the U.S. have been praised by workers and labor advocacy groups, some employers have positioned themselves in clear opposition to these hikes. Among them have been restaurant owners who say such hikes could be crippling.

In fact, the coalition of LA-area restaurants summed up the main points of the opposition in a recent letter it sent to the LA City Council back in March to express its concerns with the min. wage increases. Specifically, the coalition explained that:

The restaurant business is widely known for its high rate of failure due to its inability to increase prices to cover rising costs and for having extremely high operating costs — particularly labor, which averages between 35-60% of all costs… [the min. wage hike] would increase our single largest cost by an incredible 66% in only 4 years.

Given that the minimum wage in Atlanta (and throughout Georgia) is currently $7.25/hr – and that this wage has not been increased since 2009, we’re now wondering whether you think Atlanta should take a cue from these other cities and propose an increase to the minimum wage. Do you think a min. wage hike is needed in Atlanta and/or throughout Georgia? Or are you among the opposition for such a hike?

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Atlanta Employment Lawyer at the Law Firm of Barrett & Farahany, LLP, LLP

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