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Minimum wage to increase in Missouri beginning January 1 - KOAM TV 7

Minimum wage to increase in Missouri beginning January 1

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Employees across the state of Missouri will ring in the new year with an increase in minimum wage.

Missouri is one of 19 states that will raise minimum wage on New Year's Day.

A Missouri law passed in 2006 requires the increase.

Matt Long, an employee at Vintage Stock in Joplin, is one of more than 136,000 workers in Missouri expected to receive a 15 cent per hour raise in 2015.

He says increasing minimum wage to $7.65 per hour is necessary to keep up with inflation nationwide.

"It evens out, if that," Long said. "It might be behind the current trend, the current rise of inflation."

Long says while the extra $24 a month is an improvement, it is still not enough for him to live off of alone.

"I wouldn't settle for minimum wage, if that were my only means, if I didn't have another income supplementing my household," Long said.

However, a single minimum wage salary is the reality for some in our region, according to Bubba Evansco with the Southwest Missouri Workforce Investment Board.

"You have to imagine, if you're relying on minimum wage as your earnings, 15 cents is a big deal," Evansco said.  "$6.00 a week is another quarter of a tank of gas. That might be enough to get you through the week."

While the impact to employees is expected to be largely positive, Evansco says for employers with a high number of low wage workers, there may be a negative impact as well.

"From the employer's standpoint, if you have 100 employees that are all getting minimum wage, that's a big increase in pay," he said.  "You're going to have to increase your bottom line. Something has to change, whether it's more profitability, or maybe less manpower."

Evansco says only time will tell how much of an impact the increase will bring.

"I think the more we focus individually on trying to make sure we don't rely on that wage, the better off we'll be," he said.

And that is Long's mentality also.

He is hopeful to be making above minimum wage in the future.

The minimum wage for tipped workers in Missouri will be raised by 9 cents to $3.83 cents per hour.
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