Missouri Will Ring in the New Year With Higher Minimum Wages

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COLUMBIA - Some Missouri employees will have a higher minimum wage to look forward to in the new year.

Effective January 1, 2014, the Missouri Department of Labor announced the minimum wage rate will increase to $7.50. This is up 15 cents from 2013's $7.35 minimum wage.

All businesses will be required to to pay employees $7.50. However, this requirement will exclude businesses that have a lower annual gross than $500,000.

"This is going to impact low wage workers in a variety of areas," Rural Organizer with Missouri Rural Crisis Center Brian Smith said. "You are going to find restaurant workers, retail workers from big box retailers to the smaller retailers. You are going to find people who work in construction in a lower level." 

The minimum wage rate is calculated once a year and is subject to increase or decrease depending on the cost of living measured by the previous year's Consumer Price Index. The Missouri state minimum wage is not allowed to drop below the federal minimum wage.

Regarding employees who receive tips, their hourly pay must at least total $7.50 in the new year. Employers will be required to pay the difference in their wage if tips do not bring their pay to at least $7.50.

Although this is just a 15 cent increase Smith said it will make a difference to workers. 

"It's going to be a positive impact," Smith said. "Without it you are finding that workers would continue to fall further and further behind every year as the price of all types of goods continue to rise on a consistent basis."