LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The Board of Supervisors have introduced an ordinance to enforce the county’s minimum wage.
The Department of Consumer and Business Affairs will set up the wage enforcement program, designed to stop “wage theft.”
Supervisor Hilda Solis has championed enforcement.
“We are taking the next step to solve a problem that both employers and employees agree is a crisis for fair competition and dignity at work,” Solis said.
DCBA already has inspectors going door-to-door to explain the minimum wage law, set to take effect July 1.
The enforcement ordinance, revealed on Tuesday, April 12, was endorsed by the Los Angeles County Business Federation or BizFed, which said county employees had sought input from the business community.
“The end result is a reasonable, balanced ordinance,” said BizFed founding CEO Tracy Rafter.
Labor leaders also praised the result.
“Today’s landmark decision by the Board of Supervisors means that every worker in unincorporated Los Angeles County will no longer have to live in fear of unpaid wages,” said Rusty Hicks of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “Los Angeles County’s working families will now be able to see the value of an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.”
A coalition pressing for enforcement said thousands of dollars are lost each day to wage theft of workers at restaurants, car washes, garment factories and construction sites.
“I work overtime as much as I can to support my family, but I don’t get paid the correct wages from my employer,” car wash worker and advocate Hector Jimenez said. “Management says my breaks take up those hours, and therefore I am not getting paid for my full hours of work.”
The ordinance allows employees to file claims for unpaid wages and establishes fines and other penalties for violators.
Fines may run up to $100 per day per employee for unpaid wages, while failing to post notices or keep records can result in a $500 fine.
Some violations, such as failing to provide a pay period statement, call for $500 fines to be paid both to the county and the employee.
Retaliating against employees for exercising their rights may result in fines of up to $1,000 per employee payable to the county, another $1,000 per employee payable to the employee and an additional $100 per day to the employee until the employee is reinstated, if ordered.
Fines can be increased by as much as 50 percent for repeat offenders.
The county’s minimum hourly wage is scheduled to reach $15 by 2020.