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City of St. Louis moves forward with illegal minimum wage increase

Tuesday, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported the City of St. Louis Board of Alderman gave initial approval to a minimum wage ordinance that would boost the minimum wage to $8.25 “immediately” and to $9 per hour January 1, 2016; $10 per hour January 1, 2017; and $11 per hour January 1, 2018.

The City of St. Louis lacks legal authority to enact any minimum wage higher than the state minimum wage.  State law overrides local law and the state law allows employers to pay $7.65 per hour.

“The City of St. Louis has ignored state law and saddled employers with a big headache with this one,” said Ray McCarty, president of Associated Industries of Missouri. “How are employers supposed to receive notice of this supposed increase in minimum wage – there is no practical way to inform employers of their supposed liability if they are trying to make this effective immediately. The city leaders moved forward, despite the Mayor being put on notice that the action is illegal. If finally approved, employers in the City of St. Louis will have no choice but to violate the ordinance, at least initially, and challenge the ordinance in court as there is simply no time to implement this change,” said McCarty.

State statute prohibits local governments from enacting a local minimum wage.

Raising the minimum wage will also have a large impact on youth employment as many youth are hired into their first jobs at minimum wage. As the minimum wage increases, the number of those jobs is diminished and the employer must look for skilled workers that can do more work with fewer people.  Many times, youth and other workers with less skills may be overlooked for these jobs and will not have any way to obtain work experience or advance to higher paying jobs.

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