Minimum wage earners in Missouri and other states across the U.S. received an increase in hourly income in the new year. Starting in 2014, Missouri increased its minimum wage from $7.35 an hour to $7.50.

The increase was not mandated by federal wage law, but 13 states across the country, including Missouri, chose to act independently to give their low income earners a welcome increase. Congress is considering a raise in the federal wage limits, but some states chose not to wait. The minimum wage is not tied to any index on a federal level, but some Democratic legislators would like to see that happen. The federal minimum wage has not been raised since George Bush signed a series of increases in 2009.

Though annual raises for low-income workers are encouraged by worker advocates, they are discouraged by groups that support business. Business-friendly advocates state that they are against the increases as they believe that it has negative results for those seeking employment, calling the raise a job-killer. In recent polls, voters appear to be in favor of raising the minimum wage locally. About half of Republicans who are not in Congress approve of the raise in federal minimum wage while about two-thirds of all those polled were in favor.

Hourly wage workers, whether part time or full time, are entitled to protection from minimum wage violation. While most companies remain in full compliance of the law, there are some that fail to cooperate with, or are simply ignorant of, current minimum wage laws. When a change in hourly wage is made, minimum wage workers should begin to receive the proper amount from the date the change becomes the law. When there is a discrepancy, an employment lawyer may be able to help.

Source: Huffington Post, “13 States Will Raise Their Minimum Wage For The New Year“, Dave Jamieson, December 23, 2013