Controversy continues in West Hollywood as business leaders rally in opposition of the city’s paid time off policy and potential increases for minimum wage.
The minimum wage in West Hollywood is $19.08 as of July, with some residents saying that’s not a living wage for the city. Local business owners, however, said they are unable to keep up with those wages and paid time off policies, and are even considering shutting down.
“We’re going to have to cut down the amount of hours, we’re going to have to cut down the amount of employees that we have for shifts, the wait times may increase, we’re going to do whatever we can to survive,” said Dimitri Komarov, co-owner of Tail O’ The Pup on Santa Monica Boulevard.
According to the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, business owners in the city banded together to make their voices heard. More than 50 businesses signed a letter with several requests for city leaders to pause future minimum wage increases and rollback on paid time off requirements.
Right now, the city’s policy requires employers provide at least 96 hours in compensated hours for full time employees and compensated hours in “increments proportional to that accrued by someone who works 40 hours in a week” for part-time employees.
“Most of our businesses in the critical state of business meeting that we recently had with city staff have said that they are looking at laying off 20% of their workforce just to adjust to the new expenses that they are facing,” said Genevieve Morrill, CEO of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
One local restaurant worker said business owners aren’t the only ones struggling. Despite West Hollywood having one of the highest minimum wages in the U.S., workers still feel financially strapped.
“I’m renting a room from a friend, so that helps me with rent but even at that price point, with my rent, I still have moments where I’m like do I pay for this or pay my rent? Do I buy this or pay my rent,” said Christopher Lillian, who works at an area restaurant.
Right now, the search for some sort of middle ground remains.
“We love West Hollywood,” Komarov said. “We love the city, they’ve been very good to us on many levels, but I think they need to re-think some of these policies. Otherwise, it’s going to be very hard for many businesses to survive.”
Source: NBC Los Angeles