LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Los Angeles City Council, which weeks ago approved a hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, on Tuesday asked its legal staff to carve out an exemption to the ordinance for job training programs.
In voting to approve the measure, city council members instructed the city attorney to put together an ordinance allowing employers of job training programs to pay workers below the minimum wage for the first 18 months of their training.
"This is an important measure that will ensure everyone has the opportunity to get the training they need to enter the workforce and lead productive lives,” Council member Paul Krekorian said.
The city council earlier this month passed one of the highest minimum wage increases in the country, with Mayor Eric Garcetti signing the measure into law on June 13. The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 since 2009, while the minimum wage for the state of California is $9 an hour.
Under the ordinance, the city's minimum wage will increase every year until it reaches $15 an hour by 2020. Businesses of 25 workers and fewer have one more year to comply.
While proponents of the minimum wage increase said that the new increase will lift hundreds of thousands of Angelenos out of poverty, opponents contend that a higher minimum wage will overburden local businesses and force them to lay off workers.
(Reporting by Phoenix Tso; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Diane Craft)