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Minnesota's minimum wage increase starts tomorrow

Tomorrow will prove to be a historic day here in Minnesota as the minimum wage currently paid to hundreds of thousands of employees in a multitude of sectors is set to increase for the first time in almost ten years.

To recap, the minimum wage will increase to $8 an hour starting August 1, and increase again in both August 2015 and August 2016, topping out at $9.50 an hour. The minimum wage would then be revisited in January 2018 with the rate being adjusted for inflation.

“Minnesotans who work full-time should be able to earn enough money to lift their families out of poverty, and achieve the American Dream,” said Gov. Mark Dayton of the new minimum wage bill. “Raising the minimum wage will improve the lives of more than 325,000 hard-working Minnesotans.”

In recognition of this impending change, today's post will take a closer look at some key points of Minnesota's new wage and hour law. 

Those businesses that meet the definition of a large employer will be required to pay employees at least $8 an hour. Here, the minimum wage law defines a large employer as one whose annual gross revenue is at least $500,000. This monetary threshold is actually significantly lower than the previous legal definition, which set it at $625,000.

On the other end of the spectrum, small employers, meaning those whose annual gross revenues are less than $500,000, are required to pay employees a minimum of $6.50 an hour.

The law sets the youth wage rate, paid to those employees under the age of 18 not otherwise protected by federal employment laws, at a minimum of $6.50 per hour. Similarly, the law dictates that the training wage rate is set at a minimum of $6.50 per hour and that this amount can be paid to all employees under the age of 20 for their first 90 consecutive days on the job.  

As a final note, it's important for workers to understand that the minimum wage increase applies to both full-time and part-time workers, and that they are entitled to this amount no matter how their pay is structured.  

Remember to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you believe that they have been victimized by employee misclassification, unpaid overtime or minimum wage violations.

Source: The Faribault News, "Minnesota's first minimum wage increase takes effect Friday," Camey Thibodeau, July 29, 2014

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