Wyatt Employment Law Report


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Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council Votes 9-6 to Increase the Minimum Wage to $10.10 over the Next Three Years

By Sharon L. Gold

coin stackAt last night’s packed council meeting, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council voted 9-6 to increase the minimum wage in the city to $10.10 over the next three years. The ordinance provides that the minimum wage shall increase to $8.20 an hour on July 1, 2016, $9.15 an hour on July 1, 2017, and $10.10 an hour on July 1, 2018. Mayor Gray indicated to the media that he will sign the ordinance.

Neighboring Louisville passed an ordinance increasing the minimum wage to $9 over the next three years. A group of businesses challenged the Louisville ordinance and that case is currently pending before the Kentucky Supreme Court. The Court will ultimately have to decide whether cities have the authority to increase the minimum wage.

This issue is being hotly contested all across the country, with proponents of a minimum wage increase arguing that families cannot live on the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Opponents of the wage increase argue, on the other hand, that raising the minimum wage will hurt lower income families because it will result in lost jobs and increased cost in everything from groceries to gas. Others argue that job training and education are more proper avenues to raise working families’ incomes.

 

 


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Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council Proposes Minimum Wage Increase

By Courtney Ross Samford

Last week, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council joined a growing list of U.S. cities and local governments that are considering an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour. If enacted, the proposed plan would take effect over the next three years and is expected to impact more than 31,000 employees in Fayette County who earn less than $10.10 per hour.

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council proposal is similar to a measure that was recently enacted by the Louisville Metro Council in 2014, which will minimum-wagesincrease the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9 per hour by 2017. Louisville was the 12th U.S. city to raise its minimum wage in 2014.

The Kentucky General Assembly is considering a state-wide increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour over the next two years, but many forecasters are doubtful that the bill will pass. A similar bill failed in the Kentucky Senate last year.

Currently, twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages that are above the $7.25 federal minimum wage. The minimum wage in California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington is $9 or higher.

While it’s difficult to anticipate which city, local government or state will be next, it’s clear that the minimum wage movement is gaining momentum. Employers must pay close attention to similar proposals in their area and be prepared to respond to the evolving environment.