Missouri Supreme Court upholds St. Louis minimum wage

The state’s minimum wage does not preempt the City of St. Louis from establishing a higher minimum wage, according to a February 28, 2017, Missouri Supreme Court ruling. The ruling means thousands of minimum-wage workers will see a minimum wage increase to $11 per hour by 2018. “…Plaintiffs are incorrect that the Missouri minimum wage law is an affirmative authorization to pay no more than the state minimum wage. To the contrary, it simply sets a floor below which an employee cannot be paid…” To conclude that the law was intended to protect employers from ever being required to pay a higher wage is at odds with the statute’s recognized purpose, which is to ameliorate the “unequal bargaining power as between employer and employee” and to “protect the rights of those who toil.”
In the absence of the legal challenge, the City’s minimum wage currently would be $10 per hour. The law, signed by Mayor Slay on August 28, 2015, was designed to phase in a graduated minimum wage on the following schedule:

• $8.25 on October 15, 2015
• $9 on January 1, 2016
• $10 on January 1, 2017
• $11 on January 1, 2018. (City of St. Louis, Missouri, Office of the Mayor, News Release,
February 28, 2017; Cooperative Home Care, Inc. v. City of St. Louis, Missouri, Mo. Sup. Ct. No. SC95401, February 28, 2017; City of St. Louis Ordinance No. 70078
.)

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