By Evan Henerson

The calendar flip from June to July means a minimum wage hike in La La Land.

Los Angeles is headed for an across the board $15 minimum wage in 2021. Employers with 26 or more employees will implement the $15 an hour wage on July 1, 2020 while companies with 25 employees or fewer will have that rate in place one year later.

The increases began in 2016 and, on July 1, this year’s minimum wage jumped from $10.50 to $12 (for more than 26 employees) and from $10 to $10.50 for companies with 25 employees or less. That bump to $12 isn’t the only 2017 bonus. According to the Los Angeles Minimum Wage Ordinance, employers with 25 or fewer employees must now provide sick leave benefits (one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked). The city’s Raise the Wage LA webpage spells everything out.

Meanwhile, the debate over overall economic benefits to a higher minimum wage rages on. A new study out of the University of Washington examining low income workers in Seattle concluded that minimum wage increase has led to substantial job loss since that city’s minimum wage went up to $13 an hour in 2016.

The L.A. Times’ columnist Michael Hiltzik reports: “…the findings are likely to cause shudders among the promoters of the minimum wage increase in Los Angeles…because it seems to suggest that, even if a modest raise in the minimum wage – say to $12 or $13 – won’t cost jobs, a bigger increase will.”

Hiltzik reviews the hand-wringing in the Fight for $15 camp and the economists who debunk the University of Washington paper which has already undergone massive scrutiny and is likely to get a lot more.

More from the article:

“The controversy does underscore a familiar feature of the minimum wage debate: The subject is so multifaceted that there may be no single answer to the question of where the wage should be. The answer will be different depending on the nature of the local economy, the prevailing wage, local politics and numerous other factors, including ideology.

“But the one sure conclusion to be drawn from the latest study undoubtedly will be true of the next: If you expect research to definitively answer the question of whether a raise in the minimum wage is good or bad, or how high it should go, you’re bound to be disappointed.”

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