Minimum Wage Increases for Businesses in Unincorporated LA County and the City of Santa Clarita
Are you confused about the minimum wage increases? You’re not alone! The Santa Clarita Valley is in an especially unique situation in that the City of Santa Clarita and the County of Los Angeles have two different minimum wage increase schedules which has caused confusion and challenges for many of our local employers and residents alike.
The City increases its wages in keeping with the State of California’s schedule (January - December), while the County of Los Angeles has adopted a wage increase schedule based on their fiscal calendar (July - June).
City of Santa Clarita
The California Director of Finance must annually determine and certify to the governor and Legislature whether the minimum wage must be adjusted for inflation and calculate the increase, which is the lesser of 3.5 percent or the rate of change in inflation. The minimum wage in California was set to increase each year until it reached $15/hr in 2022. However, on July 27, 2022, a new minimum wage of $15.50 was set to go into effect due to the high inflation rate. In keeping with the State, the minimum wage for businesses within the City limits of Santa Clarita has increased to $16.00 per hour for all employers as of January 1, 2024. This increase applies to companies with up to 25 employees, as well as those with 26 or more employees.
Unincorporated LA County
On July 1, 2023, the minimum wage for businesses in unincorporated Los Angeles County (LAC), those primarily located on the west side of the I-5 freeway, increased to $16.90 per hour. The “unincorporated” areas of LA County include neighborhoods outside of incorporated cities such as Castaic and Val Verde. Beginning in 2022, and continuing each year thereafter, on January 1 the CEO determines the adjusted rates which shall take effect on July 1 of that year. Starting on July 1st, 2024, the minimum wage for all businesses within unincorporated LA County will increase to $17.27.
How are increases to the state minimum wage determined after the minimum wage reached $15 an hour?
After the state minimum wage reached $15 an hour, the rate is adjusted annually for inflation based on the national consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W). However, the minimum wage cannot be lowered, even if there is a negative CPI, and the highest raise allowed in any one year is 3.5 percent. Also, the Governor is no longer able to pause a scheduled increase, and the first adjusted increases may be accelerated if the adjusted CPI-W exceeded seven percent in that first year.
Fast Food Workers Wage Increases
On Sept. 28, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 1228, which sets a $20 minimum wage for fast-food workers starting on April 1, 2024. The fast-food employee minimum wage will increase annually until 2029, based on the Consumer Price Index. The law applies to chains of limited-service restaurants consisting of more than 60 establishments that share common branding, marketing and products.
Healthcare Facility Wage Increases
Healthcare Facility employers, effective June 1, 2024, will have a higher minimum wage after the signing of SB 525. The law expands the definition of employees who will be considered health care workers for coverage purposes. The stated goal is for all covered health care employers eventually to pay a minimum wage of $25/hour. When that rate takes effect, however, depends on the type and size of the health care employer as follows. For more information on healthcare worker wage increases consult your HR Department, and here is a comprehensive article giving a thorough breakdown of definitions and dates from the new law.
For frequently asked questions about minimum wage for businesses in unincorporated LAC you can visit the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs' (DCBA) website at: https://dcba.lacounty.gov/minimum-wage-for-businesses/. To determine if work is done in an unincorporated area of L.A. County, enter the address at the County Registrar-Recorder’s website. Follow the DCBA's guide for step-by-step instructions. You also can call the DCBA at or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions about the minimum wage increase give us a call. Our business assistance team is a one-stop resource for local companies. From obtaining workforce training at low or no cost to learning about local, state, and federal tax incentives, from expediting business issues resolution to managing local business coalitions, the SCVEDC is the focal point in delivering the support local companies need.
The Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation (SCVEDC) is a unique private / public partnership representing the united effort of regional industry and government leaders. The SCVEDC utilizes an integrated approach to attracting, retaining and expanding a diversity of businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley, especially those in key industry clusters, by offering competitive business services and other resources.