Minimum wage workers statewide can expect an hourly raise since Governor Mark Dayton signed the new minimum wage law this week. This takes Minnesota from one of the lowest minimum wage rates to one of the highest—guaranteeing workers $9.50 per hour by 2016. The new law could increase the wages of 325,000 workers throughout Minnesota.
Minnesota’s minimum wage law will raise the hourly rate from $6.15 to $9.50, then tie future raises to the ongoing rise in inflation. While Congress has stalled in passing an increase of the national minimum wage, other states have taken action to protect their workers. Minnesota is following suit since Maryland, Connecticut and California have already pushed their wages to $10.00 per hour or more. Other states have also passed bills to increase their state minimum wage above $7.25 per hour—the federal minimum wage.
The law was faced by GOP resistance and was only passed by Democratic votes. Business interest groups have argued that the minimum wage law is a setback that could result in more unemployment. Those in support of the bill recognize that while a raise in the minimum wage will not shift low-pay workers into the upper-middle class, the law should provide hope and bolster a baseline income to make ends meet.
The minimum wage shift is trending nationwide, as cities and state lawmakers recognize that minimum pay rates do not equal the rates of inflation, leaving America’s lowest paid workers barely hovering above the poverty line—in some cases, workers are left struggling below it. For Minnesota’s workers, the additional income will give families more access and freedom when buying groceries, gas and other necessities.
The law will take effect in August, raising pay to $8.00 per hour and then $9.50 by 2016. There are some exceptions to the law, including small employers and teen workers who are training for new positions. The inflation adjustment could signal a 2.5 percent annual raise slated to begin in 2018.
Workers’ rights are often enhanced by new laws, but in some cases it is necessary to take additional legal action. Wanta Thome Jozwiak & Wanta is committed to helping workers protect their rights in any employment legal dispute. We have an outstanding record of success in helping employees. For more information or to speak with one of our attorneys about a wage and hour claim, please call 612-252-3570.