LA County Minimum Wage Applies to Unincorporated Areas

*Editor’s note: This article was updated on July 28, 2023 to add a clarification note, additional information links and names of incorporated cities in Los Angeles County that have adopted their own minimum wage ordinances.
David Leporiere

I own a small business in Glendora, California, which is located within Los Angeles County. I just saw something on the news that said that the minimum wage in Los Angeles County increased on July 1. Do I have to pay my employees this new minimum wage?

The minimum wage for Los Angeles County is based upon an ordinance adopted by the county supervisors. In situations where a law is based upon a county ordinance, that ordinance is applicable only in unincorporated areas of the county. “Unincorporated areas” are the areas in the county that fall outside of the city limits of the various cities within the county.

If your business lies within the city limits of a city, it is not subject to the county ordinance because it is not in an unincorporated area. Ordinances adopted by a county do not apply to businesses, people, or things that occur or exist within the boundaries of a city.

Because Glendora is an incorporated city, the county ordinance does not apply to your business or employees, so long as the employees work within the city limits of Glendora. If your employees work only within the city of Glendora, then your business is only obligated to pay its employees the minimum wage established by the state of California, unless and until the city of Glendora adopts its own minimum wage ordinance.

The Los Angeles County website has a resources page to help businesses determine whether they are subject to its minimum wage ordinance.

To determine if your business is operating within a city, you also can look to your business license to determine if it was issued by a city or by a county.

If the license was issued by the county, it is likely that your business is operating in an unincorporated area, and you would be subject to county ordinances.


The Los Angeles County ordinance is applicable to work completed in the “unincorporated areas” of the county. The ordinance requires that employers pay the county minimum wage to any employee who works at least two hours in a particular week within the unincorporated areas of the county. It does not apply to work completed in incorporated cities like Glendora, just as it also does not apply to work completed in the city of Los Angeles — which has its own minimum wage ordinance.

Employers should consider where remote and traveling employees are working to determine if they are covered by the Los Angeles County ordinance because if at least two hours of work are completed in a week within unincorporated areas of the county, the ordinance would apply. However, if an employee spends time in the unincorporated areas of the county solely for the purpose of traveling through it and does not make employment-related or commercial stops, or they are stopping only for gas, meals, or personal errands — then the county ordinance would not apply.

Note that within Los Angeles County, the incorporated cities of Malibu, Pasadena, West Hollywood and Santa Monica all have adopted their own minimum wage ordinances.

For more information, see the HR Library on HR California:
Los Angeles County Minimum Wage Ordinance
Los Angeles City Minimum Wage Ordinance

Column based on questions asked by callers on the Labor Law Helpline, a service to California Chamber of Commerce preferred members and above. For expert explanations of labor laws and Cal/OSHA regulations, not legal counsel for specific situations, call (800) 348-2262 or submit your question at