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The implications of a minimum-wage increase for Missourians

Missouri residents may recall that during his State of the Union address, President Obama recommended raising minimum wage. He proposed that the minimum wage be steadily increased to $9 by 2015, and after that time, he recommended that it be adjusted according to inflation. Currently, wage laws in Missouri require employers to pay $7.25 an hour to non-exempt employees. Most people are in favor of an increase; however, there are a number of organizations who believe that an increase will negatively impact the economy.

A worker living on $7.25 an hour can expect to make $7,540 per year if he works half time. If he works full time, he can expect to earn $15,080 per year. Although many people manage to survive on a minimum-wage income, money is very tight for them. They tend to live from paycheck to paycheck, and poor budgeting or unexpected expenses can have devastating effects.

Many small-business owners claim that raising wages would negatively impact employment for teens, especially minority teens who tend be employed at jobs that pay minimum wage. In addition, they claim that they would be forced to reduce their workforce and give extra work to the remaining staff members to compensate for the pay increase. However, other businesses claim that paying their workers better wages increases productivity and reduces turnover.

Regardless of whether or not the minimum wage is increased, Missouri employers are still required by law to compensate their employees fairly for all hours worked. This includes payment for overtime and preparation time. When a dispute arises because a business is failing to fairly pay their workers, a knowledgeable employment law attorney may be able to help the employees obtain compensation for wage violations.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Would minimum-wage increase help workers?" Dan Voorhis, Feb. 26, 2013

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