Lifting Minimum Wage Workers Out of Poverty Through Wage Enforcement

The city of Los Angeles recently enacted an ordinance to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. The city’s Bureau of Contract Administration worked with FUSE executive fellow Mark Lee to support implementation of the wage increase, which is expected to benefit more than half a million of the city’s low-wage workers, through robust enforcement of wage standards.

Mark conducted a thorough landscape review to understand the agency’s enforcement practices and performed a benchmarking analysis at the city, county, and state levels. His analysis uncovered several opportunities to enhance the agency’s investigation and compliance capabilities, such as the use of “directed investigations” that leverage data analytics to help uncover industries or employers engaged in wage theft or other violations. Mark’s recommendations also included closer collaboration with peer agencies and community-based organizations, and strengthened community outreach to build awareness of worker rights and protections. These efforts have fostered a more collaborative and effective model for enforcement that’s helping to ensure workers benefit fully from new and improved wage standards.

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