The minimum wage was a hot topic over the past few years. The famed “Fight for 15” pitted service workers, predominately in the fast food industry, against employers both big and small. The “Fight for 15” basic argument was that the minimum wage did not provide a livable wage which forced people on the minimum wage to seek government assistance. Essentially, the government was subsidizing major company’s ability to underpay their workers.
Their argument has some merit. The minimum wage is not pegged to inflation therefore its effective buying power has steadily decreased over the decades. The current minimum federal wage is $7.25 an hour which amounts to about $15,080 a year which is below the federal poverty line for a family of two, let alone three or four.
Missouri, in response to the pressure from the “Fight for 15” raised its minimum wage a nickel in 2017 to $7.70. Missouri now joins 19 other states who mandate a minimum wage that exceeds the federal minimum standard. Additionally, Missouri increased the tipped employee wage to $3.85. In many states, Missouri included, workers in traditionally “tipped” professions are paid substantially less in minimum wage with the understanding that they can make up the difference in tips.
If you believe that your employer has failed to raise your hourly pay commensurate with the 2017 increase to the minimum wage, then you may want to contact a lawyer – you could have an actionable claim for damages. Your employer is required to pay you the minimum wage, failure to do so could expose them to serious penalties. Additionally, if your wage is not respected, it is highly likely that your co-workers are experiencing similar abuse. It isn’t fair but sometimes the only person who will enforce your rights is you.