Irvine requires contractors doing business with the city to pay their employees a living wage. Some might say that the requirement is just the cost of doing business with Irvine. As it turns out, when you come to do business with Irvine, it becomes the cost of doing business with the entire county.
That’s because Irvine’s living-wage ordinance, required for contracts of at least $100,000 spent in a 12-month period, forces employers doing business with the city to pay workers $10.82 an hour plus health benefits, or $13.34 per hour without benefits – not just in Irvine, but on any contract or employee they have working anywhere in the county.
“It extends the ordinance’s requirement beyond our municipal borders,” Councilwoman Christina Shea said at the council meeting last week. It also created an “unfair economic burden on the taxpayer,” she said.
The ordinance, on the books since 2007, when a Democratic majority was in control, re-emerged recently as a point of contention after a contract fell through with a janitorial service after the company learned of the living wage requirements.