Minimum wage increases
Posted January 22, 2015 in Selected Press
Ohio’s minimum wage increased on Jan. 1 by 15 cents for non-tipped employees and seven cents for tipped employees.
Ohio workers will now make $8.10 an hour for non-tipped employees and $4.05 an hour, plus tips, for tipped employees, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce.
The minimum wage increase is determined by the consumer price index, said Matt Mullins, spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Commerce.
In 2006, Ohio voters passed a law saying that the state’s minimum wage would increase based on the consumer price index every year on Jan. 1.
The consumer price index rose 1.6 percent from Sept. 1, 2013 to Aug. 1, 2014, Mullins said.
“It really is significant for workers,” said Amy Hanauer, executive director of Policy Matters Ohio.
About 277,000 Ohio workers will get a wage increase because of this change, whether the employee worked for minimum wage or worked for more than the 2014 wage of $7.95 but less than the new wage of $8.10, Hanauer said.
However significant the change is for workers, though, it is not significant enough, Hanauer said.
She believes Ohio should be reflective of wage increases in other areas of the county.
“We’ve been seeing across the country lots of states and communities wanting to raise their minimum wage significantly,” Hanauer said.
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages rates higher than the federal rates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s website. Ohio does have a rate higher than the federal rate.
Two states have rates lower than federal rates and 19 states either have the same rate as federal or do not have a rate so the federal rate applies, according to the Department of Labor’s website.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour for non-tipped employees, according to the Department of Commerce. The federal minimum wage applies to Ohio businesses with annual gross receipts of $297,000 or less and 14-year-old and 15-year-old workers.
A minimum wage of $10.10 would be much better, Hanauer said, and would be reasonable.
The minimum wage increase will increase consumer spending by $36 million, based on an estimate by the Economic Policy Institute, because when lower income workers get a raise they typically spend almost all of it in the local economy, Hanauer said.
Lower income workers typically have needs that they cannot afford, like car repairs or school clothes for their children, that they put off because they cannot afford it, Hanauer said. So, when a lower income worker gets a raise they typically use it to make purchases that they have been saving up for.
“It’s a meaningful boost for low income workers but, I think that many of these workers are struggling to get by,” Hanauer said.
Minimum wage increases impact businesses not just because businesses have to pay workers more, but also because manufacturers raise their costs, said Nick Grammas, owner of the Mt. Carmel location of Grammas Pizza.
“It affects everything,” Grammas said. Because manufacturers pay their workers more they raise prices, which puts a strain on Grammas because he tries to keep prices competitive.
Original Article: http://clermontsun.com/2015/01/22/minimum-wage-inc...