Los Angeles just became the largest city in the U.S. to adopt an hourly minimum wage of $15.

Taken after similar actions in San Francisco and Seattle, L.A.’s decision is viewed as the most important victory within the national movement to raise the minimum wage. The move bears significance not only because Los Angeles will be the largest city in the U.S to raise the minimum wage but also because more than 40 percent of the city’s workforce is said to earn less than $15 an hour.

The Guardian reports:

Under the proposed legislation, the city’s minimum wage would increase to $10.50 in July 2016, and would increase incrementally every year until it reaches $15 in July 2020. For small businesses with 25 or fewer employees, the wage hike would come on a modified schedule with the incremental increases starting in July 2017 and the minimum wage reaching $15 by July 2021.

The current minimum wage in California is $9 an hour and is set to increase to $10 in January 2016.

Other cities, including New York and Chicago, are considering raising their minimum wage to $15 an hour. In February, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio called for a $15 minimum wage by 2019 in his state of the city address.

The shift towards raising the minimum wage by local lawmakers comes at a time when the fight for $15 movement has swelled into the largest protest by low-wage workers in US history. On 15 April, some 60,000 workers in more than 200 US cities took part in the Fight for $15 demonstrations. Many of them were low-wage employees of companies like Walmart and McDonald’s, which have since pledged to increase their workers’ pay by $1-$2 an hour, a raise activists said is still not enough.

The legislation, which the Los Angeles City Council passed in a 14-1 vote Tuesday, is described by Michael Reich, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley, as moving “wages up in a way we haven’t seen since the 1960s.” Reich told The New York Times, “There’s a sense spreading that this is the new norm, especially in areas that have high costs of housing.”

–Posted by Roisin Davis

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