AH&LA survey finds many hotel operators already pay above the minimum wage

A recent survey released by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and WageWatch found nearly 40 percent of respondents pay 100 percent of their workforce above the minimum wage. Labor data has shown growth month after month, and is at the highest levels since 2008.

Other findings include 45.1 percent of respondents pay 75 percent or more of their employees above the minimum wage, and 85.8 percent proceed medical insurance benefits to non-exempt workers. Nearly 62 percent who offer employee healthcare benefits subsidize basic individual plan premiums at 60 percent or greater, and 80 percent of minimum wage workers are eligible for promotion in less than a year and 100 percent are eligible in less than two years.

The survey seeks to highlight the negative consequences of extreme wage initiatives taking place across the country. 

“Hotel employees are the backbone of our industry," said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of AH&LA. "That’s why it’s especially troubling that in cities like Los Angeles, small business hotel owners are being singled out by union-backed extreme wage initiatives that will hurt those seeking to get on the ladder of opportunity.”

Just last week Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti circulated a plan to raise the city's minimum wage to $13.25 an hour over a three year span, with other planned raises to keep pace with inflation. The Los Angeles Times reported that City Council managers for the city are drafting a separate ordinance to raise the minimum wage to $15.37 an hour for workers at the city's largest hotels.

"The goal is to raise the floor of the economy," councilman Mike Bonin, who is currently pushing for the minimum-wage hike alongside other council members, told the Los Angeles Times. "The hotel wage thing would likely get voted on and passed first."

Though the proposal has been backed by labor forces such as the L.A. County Federation of Labor, hotel operators are sharing troubled reactions. According to USA Today, the California Hotel & Lodging Association issued a statement in regards to Garcetti's proposal, saying hotels are already "setting a standard when it comes to high-paying jobs, particularly for entry-level positions.