Supporters of higher minimum wages for Americas low-paid workers including in Missouri have scored several victories in recent days.
By Yael T. Abouhalkah
The Kansas City Star
The most significant news is the Obama administrations embrace of a rise in the minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 up to $10.10 an hour.
That could be a game-changer for the national movement to finally provide living wages for millions of Americans.
But other positive changes are even more concrete:
• On Friday, Missouri announced that the states minimum wage would rise from $7.35 to $7.50 an hour on Jan. 1, 2014. Thats about a 2 percent increase.
• Earlier this week the voters of New Jersey approved a constitutional amendment that established the minimum wage in that state at $8.25 an hour. And it will increase automatically with inflation.
• Voters in Seatac, Wash., appear to have approved a measure that would hike the minimum wage to $15 an hour for thousands of people who work in the Seattle suburb and at the Seattle airport in that suburb.
Heres more detail on the Missouri change announced Friday by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations:
All businesses are required to pay at minimum, the $7.50 hourly rate, except retail and service businesses whose annual gross sales are less than $500,000. Per state law, the minimum wage rate is calculated once a year and may increase or decrease based on the cost of living as measured by the previous years Consumer Price Index. Missouri law does not allow the states minimum wage rate to be lower than the federal minimum wage rate.
Compensation for tipped employees must also total at least $7.50 per hour. Employers are required to pay tipped employees at least 50 percent of the minimum wage, or the amount necessary to bring the employees total compensation to a minimum of $7.50 per hour.