Minnesota minimum wage set to rise with inflation in 2018

The minimum wage will rise by 15 cents to $9.65 per hour for most businesses around the state.

By Erin Golden Star Tribune
AUGUST 17, 2017 – 11:38PM

Minnesota’s minimum wage will increase next year by 15 cents to keep up with inflation, rising to $9.65 per hour for workers at many businesses across the state.

The increase, announced Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, is effective Jan. 1, 2018. It’s the result of a 2014 law that boosted the minimum wage to $9.50 and required the state to begin calculating automatic inflationary increases for each year, starting with 2018.

About 250,000 Minnesota workers earn less than $9.65 per hour. Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith said in a statement that the wage bump is aimed at helping those residents build economic stability.

“Our state and nation was founded on the belief that hard work and opportunity should go hand in hand,” Smith said. “Raising the minimum wage will help make this value a reality for thousands of Minnesotans, many of them people of color and women with children.”
The new rate applies to workers at businesses with annual gross revenue of $500,000 or more. Employees at businesses with lower revenue, who now make $7.75 per hour, will see their minimum wage rise by 12 cents, to $7.87 per hour. That will also be the new training rate for workers younger than 20 for the first 90 days of employment, and for youth workers under age 18.

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On the wage theft beat

Shortchanged: An in-depth look at wage theft

APRIL 19, 2016

If labor activists have turned up the volume on the discussion around wage theft, that’s a good thing, said John Aiken, director of the Apprenticeship and Labor Standards Division of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, the state agency that investigates worker complaints.

“What that is doing is raising the profile of this issue and, hopefully as one of the consequences of this, is driving people to this office to seek the assistance that they deserve,” Aiken said.

The department receives more than 20,000 inquiries each year. While some of the phone calls and emails concern child labor laws, the majority of complaints fall into the category of illegal activity commonly known as “wage theft,” including workers who never received a final paycheck from a previous employer, weren’t paid overtime or had illegal deductions taken out of their wages.

The increased attention being paid to wage theft has thrown a spotlight on the laws that are meant to protect workers, employers who seem to flout the rules and the resources that are available to go after lawbreakers. Both state agencies and their federal counterparts at the U.S. Department of Labor are noticing.
“As a person who does law enforcement, I would always like a bigger staff,” David King, district director for the federal Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division office in Minneapolis, said. “We could always find work for people to do. There’s lots of things that can be done to help protect workers. That’s just a reality.

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