Los Angeles moves closer to approving $15-per-hour minimum wage
Demonstrators take part in a protest to demand higher wages for fast-food workers outside McDonald's in Los Angeles, California on May 15, 2014. Photo by Lucy Nicholson for Reuters.

The Los Angeles City Council gave preliminary approval on Tuesday to raise the hourly minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 for companies with more than 25 employees, while giving smaller businesses an extra year to meet that benchmark.


The council voted 14-1 to approve the measure, which must come back for a final vote.

The proposed wage increase in the second-largest U.S. city would raise the pay of an estimated 800,000 workers, officials said.

"We are embarking upon, I think, the most progressive minimum wage policy anywhere in the country," said City Councilman Curren Price Jr.

The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 since 2009. Opponents of minimum wage hikes say they place an undue burden on businesses and force some employers to lay off workers and pass on higher labor costs to consumers.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh)