The Long Beach Economic Development Commission agreed at its meeting on December 14 to resume discussions on developing a potential minimum wage policy for Long Beach during a final meeting at 3 p.m. on January 6 at city hall.


During the upcoming meeting, the 11-member commission will assemble more than two-months’ worth of data from six public forums in addition to recent surveys and studies to discuss making a final recommendation to the city council in written form, Economic Development Commission Chair Frank Colonna told the Business Journal.


The Long Beach City Council is expected to take up the issue of whether to establish a minimum wage ordinance at a January meeting.


During the commission’s meeting this week, the Council of Business Associations (COBA), an advocacy group that represents business improvement districts (BIDs) and business associations throughout the city, presented its own recommendation and the results of a survey of businesses and nonprofits on such a proposal.


COBA’s recommendation, which was presented by Jeremy Harris, senior vice president of the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, includes raising the minimum wage in Long Beach (above the state’s minimum wage that raises to $10 an hour on January 1) by 50 cents a year, starting in 2016, until it reaches $12.50, which would be by 2020.


The recommendation to raise the city’s minimum wage incrementally over a five-year period also proposes that employers be allowed to include medical benefits, paid sick days and paid time off (PTO) as part of the obligation to meet the city’s higher mandated minimum wage.


COBA is also recommending that there be a one-year delay for small businesses with fewer than 25 employees and a two-year delay for nonprofits. In addition, COBA advocates that youth/training workers 21 years old or younger be exempt from the city’s mandate and be paid the state’s minimum wage.