Carter to propose $15 minimum wage ordinance for St. Paul

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and St. Paul Councilmember Chris Tolbert announced a $15 minimum wage ordinance for the city.

The ordinance will be presented to the St. Paul City Council for a first reading at the Oct. 17 City Council meeting. 

“This ordinance will provide a much-needed raise to over 56,000 St. Paul workers,” said Carter. “I appreciate Councilmember Tolbert’s leadership on this effort, and look forward to working with the entire City Council to pass it into law before the end of this year.”

“This ordinance is the culmination of the intensive study by the Citizen League task force, public meetings across the city, and research – reflecting what we heard and what we learned,” said Tolbert. “This draft will be the start of the City Council ordinance process and I look forward to hearing from people as we work to finalize an ordinance that works best for St. Paul.”

“We are poised to move forward with a strong minimum wage ordinance that will lift thousands of St. Paul families," said Council President Amy Brendmoen. “I appreciate the work of the Citizen's League, their 21-member task force, and for Mayor Carter and Councilmember Tolbert's work on this important step for our city.”

“Increasing the minimum wage is one way to close the poverty gap in St. Paul. Equally important, the City needs to provide our immigrant and small businesses with equitable support so they can successfully pay $15 an hour,” said Councilmember Dai Thao. “I look forward to working with Mayor Carter, the City Council, and our community towards an ordinance that works for our city.”

Upon adoption, the ordinance sets the minimum wage at $15 per hour, indexed to inflation. The phase-in period will begin in 2020. The phase-in period length for employers will be dependent on business size, as determined by numbers of employees. Employers will be classified into one of three groups – large, small, and micro businesses.

A large business will be considered any business that employs more than 100 persons. Starting in 2020, large businesses will be on a 5-year phase-in, reaching a $15 minimum wage by July 1, 2023. The minimum wage for large businesses will be indexed to inflation each subsequent year starting in 2024.

A small business will be considered any business that employs 100 or fewer persons. Starting in 2020, small businesses will be on a 7-year phase-in, reaching a $15 minimum wage by July 1, 2025. The minimum wage for small businesses will be indexed to inflation each subsequent year starting in 2026.

A micro business will be considered any business that employs five or fewer persons. Starting in 2020, micro businesses will be on a 9-year phase-in, reaching a $15 minimum wage by July 1, 2027. The minimum wage for micro businesses will be indexed to inflation each subsequent year starting in 2028.

St. Paul will lead the phase-in citywide with its own employees through a three-year period starting on Jan. 1, 2020 and reaching a $15 minimum wage starting July 1, 2022.

The St. Paul $15 minimum wage ordinance contains adjustments. City-approved youth training and apprentice programs, as defined by the city’s Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity, must pay participants in qualified training or apprenticeship programs a wage not less than 85 percent of the current year’s small business minimum wage rate. Businesses must pay youth workers, 14 to 17 years old, a wage not less than 85 perecnt of the current year’s small business rate for their first 90 days, and the full applicable minimum wage thereafter. Any employer who is a part of an independent baseball league may compensate employees who appear on the team roster pursuant to a negotiated contract. Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement may waive the ordinance in their collective bargaining agreement. And qualified employers who employ persons with disabilities that are classified as extended employment workers as defined in Minnesota Rules part 3300.2005, subpart 18 and participating in the Minnesota Statutes, Section 268A 15 extended employment program, are exempt from the ordinance.

The City of St. Paul $15 minimum wage ordinance does not contain an adjustment for tipped employees.

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