ST. PAUL, MINN. – Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin, Coon Rapids and Brooklyn Park) voted on Wednesday to raise Minnesota’s minimum wage to $9.50 per hour. Sen. Hoffman joined fellow DFL Senate colleagues to pass the bill 35 to 31. This is the first raise in Minnesota’s minimum wage since 2005.
Currently, Minnesota’s minimum wage is just $6.15 an hour, though most businesses are big enough that they must pay the federal wage of $7.25 per hour. The minimum wage agreement between the Senate and House stipulates that the wage hike will be phased in over the course of two and a half years. Businesses with gross sales more than $500,000 must pay $9.50 per hour by 2016. Businesses grossing fewer than $500,000 per year must pay $7.75 per hour by 2016.
“I’m proud to stand up for the 357,000 low-wage workers across the state who will be better able provide for their families because we raised the minimum wage. Raising the wage and indexing it will pour around $472 million a year into Minnesota’s economy – that’s money heading right back into the local economies of our communities and small businesses,” said Hoffman.
Raising the minimum wage will also significantly better the lives of Minnesota women. In fact, 60 percent of minimum wage workers in Minnesota are women. The disadvantages in the workplace many women face including the pay gap were addressed at a Wednesday morning press conference on the Capitol steps. Both the Senate and House, including Hoffman as a co-author have been working on a comprehensive package of laws called the Women’s Economic Security Act. In part, these bills aim to provide equal opportunities and pay for women, who make up half of our state’s workforce.
“The WESA comprises 9 bills that will make a big difference in the lives of working women in Minnesota. We have gone far too long maintaining the status quo without actively trying to close the pay gap. I’m thankful to be working alongside my colleagues in the Senate who understand the value these laws will add to the workplace,” said Hoffman.
Beginning in 2018, minimum wage will increase each year on January 1 by inflation measured by the implicit price deflator which will be capped at 2.5 percent. The indexed increase could be suspended for one year by the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry if leading economic indicators show the possibility of a substantial downturn in the economy. The suspension could only be implemented after a public hearing and public comment period.
Sen. Hoffman welcomes additional questions or comments. You can contact him at Sen.John.Hoffman@senate.mn or by calling his office at (651) 296-4154.