Saturday, May 30

LA-wide minimum wage increase to affect pay, prices on campus

(QingQing Su/Daily Bruin)

Student employees will have more money in their pockets after a recent wage increase.

The minimum wage in Los Angeles, set to reach $15 in July 2021, increased to $12 for employers with 26 or more employees Saturday as part of a wage increase the LA City Council passed in 2015. The minimum wage was adjusted to $10.50 for nonprofits and for employers with fewer than 26 employees, according to LA’s Raise the Wage webpage.

Incremental changes to the minimum wage are scheduled to take effect on July 1 of every year for the next four years.

Employers of student workers said the new wage may have potential effects on businesses and overall prices in LA.

The minimum wage increase will apply to Associated Students UCLA employees, said Patrick Adler, ASUCLA graduate student representative.

“We’ve always been committed to paying above the minimum wage,” he said. “Whenever there’s been a change in minimum wage, we’ve also increased wages.”

Adler said the pay increase will affect more than just minimum-wage workers. When the wage increases, ASUCLA adjusts higher-position salaries accordingly and moves all wages up.

Adler said he thinks an increase in the minimum wage will encourage more students to work entry-level jobs.

“There are people that will come into the labor market that may not have wanted to work for the old wage,” he said. “Now you have more options and a better selection.”

Adler added that an increase in wages does not necessarily mean students will lose their jobs.

“I cannot stress this enough, we do not lay people off,” he said. “Less positions may be filled moving forward, but we will not lay off workers.”

Although it is too soon to know all the changes that might come from the new wage, Adler said he thinks there will be changes to prices on campus.

“What we know is that a portion of minimum wage increase is passed onto the customers,” Adler said. “A cup of coffee will be more expensive on campus.”

Robert Williams, Associated Students UCLA executive director, said ASUCLA is working to add better scheduling efficiency and improved systems in order to keep prices as low as possible.

“The upside is that all our student employees will be getting higher pay,” he said. “The tough part is that our cost of operation will go up significantly.”

Chris Tilly, a professor of urban planning and an expert in labor markets, said most studies show minimum wage increases have little to no effect on the number of jobs overall.

However, Tilly said, there are some exceptions. Smaller business which cannot afford the changes may have to shut down or let workers go, he said. Tilly added all businesses must adjust to the wage increase by either raising prices or hiring fewer workers.

Nonetheless, Tilly said he thinks the wage increase will help workers adjust to the high cost of living in Los Angeles.

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