Minnesota Minimum-Wage Workers About to Get a Raise?

Map of minimum wage rates in the United States...

Map of minimum wage rates in the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Minnesota may see an increase in its minimum wage in the 2013 legislative session. The Minnesota House of Representatives is debating a proposed rate hike to $9.50 whereas the state Senate is considering a more modest rate of $7.50. Democrats control both houses of the state’s legislature making passage of an increase likely, and Democratic Governor Mark Dayton already stated he would sign a minimum wage rate increase into law.

If passed, either increase would be the first increase for Minnesotan minimum wage earners since 2005.

The state’s minimum wage for large employers currently is $6.15 per hour, though many workers automatically receive the higher federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. Minnesota is one of only four states nationwide where the minimum wage on the books is lower than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Arkansas, Georgia, and Wyoming also have state minimum wages that fall below the federal minimum wage rate.

In a 2012 report, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry estimated 6.1 percent of Minnesota’s hourly workers were paid $7.25 an hour or less. The Department’s report also found:

  • Adjusted for inflation, the Minnesota minimum fell from $8.36 in 1974 to $6.15 in 2011.
  • Of all Minnesota hourly workers paid $7.25 or less, 45 percent work in food preparation and serving occupations.
  • Those without a high-school degree made up 31 percent of all hourly workers at or below the minimum wage.

Submitted by Chaunce Stanton

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