Missouri Nips City Minimum Wages in the Bud

Missouri is taking the reins away from municipal government when it comes to establishing minimum wage rates that exceed the State’s minimum wage.

The Missouri State Legislature passed a preemption of local minimum wage laws, vetoed it, and then overrode the veto. Missouri has now enacted House Bill 722, effectively preempting local minimum wage laws that would exceed Federal or State of Missouri minimum wage rates. The new law states:

“No political subdivision shall establish, mandate, or otherwise require an employer to provide to an employee: (1) A minimum or living wage rate; or (2) Employment benefits; that exceed the requirements of federal or state laws, rules, or regulations. The provisions of this subsection shall not preempt any state law or local minimum wage ordinance requirements in effect on August 28, 2015.”

Oklahoma enacted a similar law in 2014 that prohibited cities from establishing minimum wage rates or vacation or paid sick leave.

Fun Fact: In addition to affect citywide minimum wage rates, the new Missouri law also strips municipal government from establishing ordinances that prohibit or limit merchants from distributing plastic bags. Missouri’s State Motto is now Paper or Plastic?.

Okay, that last sentence isn’t true. Missouri’s State Motto remains Salus populi suprema lex esto. (“The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.”) But HB 722 really did take aim at curbing municipal sovereignty – including plastic bags. Take that California.

Effect on St. Louis and Kansas City Minimum Wages

Earlier in 2015, both the Cities of St. Louis and Kansas City made strides to pass citywide minimum wage ordinances.

  • St. Louis narrowly enacted their minimum wage ordinance in time, and, therefore, the St. Louis citywide minimum wage stand and currently is in effect. However, a pending legal challenge could remove it from the books. That case will most likely be determined in October 2015, according to GovDocs Compliance Counsel, Anne Jakala, Esq. In the meantime, a posting is required, but has not been released by the city. UPDATE 11/6/2015: State Court strikes down St. Louis minimum wage.
  • Kansas City had decided to let the voters choose to establish a citywide minimum wage. They placed it on the ballot for the November election, but that is well after the August 28 deadline stipulated in the new State law. Therefore, the KC minimum wage ordinance is moot. Snooze, ya lose.

Labor Law Posting Compliance Growing More Complex

Missouri isn’t the only state with municipalities trying to establish minimum wage and paid sick leave ordinances that might exceed the Federal or State requirements. Not only do large employers need to keep up with the effects of the city ordinances on payroll and employee benefits, workplace locations in these cities need to display required postings at all levels: Federal, State, County, and City.

That’s why North America’s largest employers rely on the GovDocs Update Program for simplified posting compliance. GovDocs eliminates barriers to total posting compliance with an automated subscription that delivers the right postings to 300,000 workplaces and to more than 4 million workers in the U.S. and Canada.

If your company needs help keeping 50 or more locations compliant with these ever-changing labor laws, please contact us for a free price quote.

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