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The SCV Mayor’s Committee is observing the effect of minimum wage increases on the employment of people with disabilities. While not enough time has passed for data to be collected, especially data on the local City of Los Angeles minimum wage increases which have outpaced the State minimum wage increases, we look for other indications.

There is anecdotal evidence from job developers that when minimum wage goes up, employers are less likely to hire or create new positions. Ken Wiseman, CEO of AMS Fulfillment and Past Chairperson of the Mayor’s Committee, shared that he has downsized his workforce as a result of the minimum wage increases. Jennifer Zimmerman, Job Developer for Pleasantview Industries, which provides Supported Employment in the Santa Clarita Valley, shared that over the past year the number of job placements for her workers with disabilities has decreased.

Employers have tightened their belts on hiring due to the minimum wage increases. This is a predictable consequence: Increasing the minimum wage has pushed employers to do more with fewer workers in order to help maintain the bottom line profits of the company.

The Mayor’s Committee has also looked at governmental efforts to improve outcomes for both people with disabilities and employers. In a previous blog entitled “Addressing Proposed Bill to Bridge the Gap” we spoke about the California Assembly bill 3127, which is proposed by State Assemblyman Dante Acosta, R-Santa Clarita.

The bill reads as follows: “This bill, for taxable years beginning on and after January 1, 2019, and before January 1, 2024, would allow a credit under those laws to a qualified employer that pays or incurs to a qualified employee a wage equal to or exceeding the minimum wage during the taxable year, as provided. The bill would define a qualified employee as an individual with a disability who may be paid a special minimum wage under existing state or federal law. The credit would be allowed in an amount equal to the difference between the special minimum wage and the minimum wage, multiplied by the hours worked by the qualified employee. The bill would require the Franchise Tax Board to submit a report containing specified data relating to these credits to the Legislature by June 1, 2024.” It appears that at present this bill is in committee.

The Mayor’s Committee will continue to addresses these issues and other changes related to employment of individuals with disabilities, and we invite employers to contact us as a resource for information and guidance.