MINNEAPOLIS – On Tuesday, Minneapolis City Council members presented the details of their plan to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
The draft ordinance includes a five-year phase-in and a “training wage” exception for younger workers starting jobs. However, Council members do not agree on all elements of the proposal.
“We’re in a zone where we have a few differences of opinion,” Council Member Elizabeth Glidden told the Star Tribune. Some Council members are concerned about how quickly to require businesses of varying sizes to comply.
Glidden proposed language that would require businesses with over 100 employees to increase wages more quickly, whereas smaller businesses would be allowed to make the change more gradually. All businesses would be required to pay $15 by the summer of 2022.
Council Members Alondra Cano and Cam Gordon are in favor of a four-year phase-in for all businesses, but are open to the five-year plan if all workers are included. Council Members Jacob Frey and Barb Johnson believe small businesses should be given more time to increase wages than larger ones.
Also included in the proposed ordinance, employers would not be allowed to count gratuities towards payment of the minimum wage.
The penalties for not paying minimum wage are extensive. In addition to back pay, restitution, and reimbursement of city expenses, the city would be able to fine businesses up to $1,000 per violation per employee. The city could also fine businesses for other infractions including failing to keep records or retaliate against employees who ask about or report minimum wage violations.
No city in the United States currently has a $15 minimum wage ordinance for all businesses. If the Council were to approve the ordinance, Minneapolis would join cities like San Francisco and Seattle who are phasing in a minimum wage hike.
A public hearing on the ordinance is set for June 22. The City Council is expected to vote on the ordinance on June 30.