Assistant Senate Majority Leader Katie Sieben (DFL-Cottage Grove) voted on Wednesday to raise Minnesota’s minimum wage from $6.15/hour to $9.50/hour by 2016, the first increase since 2005. Sen. Sieben joined fellow DFL senators in approving the legislation yesterday, and today the House passed the bill on to Governor Dayton.
“As Minnesota’s economy continues to make gains, our low wage workers should share in our economic recovery,” said Sieben. “Minnesota’s current minimum wage is among the lowest in the nation, and many full-time workers can’t support themselves or their families. We all value hard work and strong communities–clearly our minimum wage needs to catch up.”
If signed into law, the minimum wage increase to $9.50 would be phased in over the next three years for 357,000 low wage workers across the state. Added Sieben, “The majority of minimum wage workers in Minnesota our women, and many more are working to support their children. Raising the wage won’t end poverty, but it is a big step forward for thousands of Minnesotans trying to make end meet working multiple low-paying jobs.”
The proposal also includes a safeguard to ensure the minimum wage keeps up with inflation after 2018. Additionally, a lower wage of $7.75 would apply to smaller employers with annual gross sales below $500,000, as well as workers under the age of 18 and those on a training wage.
“I am pleased that we were able to reach a compromise that provides flexibility for many of our smaller, main street businesses and won’t prevent our teenagers from gaining valuable part-time work experience,” said Sieben. “And by allowing the minimum wage to respond to future inflation, we ensure workers’ paychecks won’t lose value over time.”
The legislation could be signed into law as early as this week.