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Some Pasadena Workers are Set to Get an Increase in Their Paychecks Starting This Week

Published on Monday, June 28, 2021 | 5:00 am

Workers making minimum wage at Pasadena businesses with 25 employees or fewer will begin earning $15 per hour this week due to the final mandated increase in the city’s minimum wage ordinance.

“The increase comes as many small businesses continue to struggle in the wake of closures caused by state and city health orders designed to combat COVID-19,” said Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Paul Little. “By now businesses have resigned themselves to minimum wage increases imposed by the city. When small businesses made a presentation to the City Council asking that Pasadena conform to the California minimum wage, a very reasonable request that would have avoided unnecessary headaches for businesses with multiple locations, the City Council restated their previous edict. 

My hope is that this additional cost doesn’t push even more local small businesses to closure.”

The council unanimously passed the city’s 2016 minimum wage ordinance after similar measures passed in both Los Angeles County and the city of L.A.

In February 2019, the Pasadena City Council reviewed the impacts of the minimum wage increases on reducing poverty, unemployment, job creation, and the overall business climate and voted to go forward with the wage increase this fiscal year, which begins on July 1.

But even at $15 an hour, it’s almost impossible for single minimum-wage earners to live in Pasadena. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Pasadena has risen more than 51.7% in the past six years, with rents on some one-bedroom apartments totaling well over $2,000 a month.

The increase has been in the works for years, with the schedule set well before the coronavirus pandemic emerged and devastated some businesses. 

The wage increase was divided into two steps, with different wages depending on the number of workers employed by a business.

The minimum rate for Pasadena businesses with 26 or more employees rose to $15 on July 1, 2020

Last year businesses called on city officials to hold off on the increase due to the economic hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic in recent months, but activists and elected officials said that businesses could not base their recovery on the backs of workers. 

California’s minimum wage is on a similar, but slower, trajectory. Larger companies will be required to pay employees at least $15 per hour by Jan. 1, 2022, while smaller businesses are required to pay a $15 per hour minimum wage by Jan. 1, 2023.

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