Minnesota prepares for minimum wage increase

Published 10:08 am Thursday, June 23, 2016

The planned increase in Minnesota’s minimum wage could pose a challenge to small businesses, according to a local professional.

As of Aug. 1, Minnesota minimum wages are set to increase from levels set in August 2015:

Large employers with an annual gross volume of sales made or business done of $500,000 or more must pay at least $9.50 an hour, up from $9 per hour.

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Small employers with an annual gross volume of sales made or business done of less than $500,000 must pay at least $7.75 an hour, up from $7.25.

The youth wage — for employees under 18 — and a training wage — a 90-day training rate paid to employees who are younger than 20 years old — will be $7.75 an hour, an increase from $7.25.

Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Randy Kehr said the minimum wage increase could lead to decreased hours for small business employees to account for the increase.

He said most large employers in the community already pay more than minimum wage, noting he thinks it is a challenge for businesses to best handle the minimum wage increase for the company, its employees and its customers.

Kehr said the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce opposed the increase, noting the state chamber opposes automatic inflators.

The current increase has an automatic inflator that kicks in Jan. 1, 2018.

Myrtle resident Dennis LaCore said he knows a lot of people in the area who could use the increase.

“There’s a lot of need out there,” he said.

LaCore — who is retired — said though he supports a larger minimum wage increase, he thinks it is a good start.

“Even a small step is a step in the right direction,” he said.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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