Workers throughout our state scored a victory when the Supreme Court of Missouri decided that the city of St. Louis had the power to create its own minimum wage requirements. The news is welcome relief after a string of setbacks in workers’ compensation rights, including the passage of Missouri’s new “right-to-work” law. The decision could open the door for other cities, including Kansas City and St. Joseph, to set their own minimum wage laws, as well.
Missouri Supreme Court Allows City Minimum Wage Law
The case started on August 28, 2015, when the city of St. Louis enacted Ordinance 70078. This ordinance phased in a new minimum wage law for the city over a period of four years, ending with a minimum wage of $11 per hour in 2018.
Local businesses sued to stop Ordinance 70078 from taking effect. They argued that the ordinance was beyond the powers of the city to create, and that it contradicted state laws, which trumped the city’s new ordinance.
After the businesses won at the trial court, the city appealed to the Supreme Court of Missouri. On February 28, 2017, the Supreme Court overruled the trial court, siding with the city of St. Louis. Not only did the city have the power to make minimum wage decisions, their decision to raise the minimum wage in the city did not conflict with Missouri law. Instead, the state’s minimum wage law “simply sets a floor below which an employee cannot be paid.” Cities, therefore, could require employers to pay more.
Other Cities Could Follow Suit
The implications of the Supreme Court’s decision are significant.
While each city’s charter is unique, and some might not grant a city the power to create its own minimum wage, the Supreme Court’s decision makes it clear that Missouri’s minimum wage law does not stop them. By officially removing this obstacle, we could soon see other cities in Missouri adopt their own minimum wage laws, guaranteeing workers a more livable wage than they’re getting, right now.
The result would be a huge gain for workers in these cities. Minimum wages have long drawn scrutiny for not being high enough. Missouri’s minimum wage of $7.70 per hour means that someone working 8 hours a day, every single weekday of the year earns only $16,016, before tax. This is only just barely above the poverty line.
St. Joseph Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
Workers’ rights are important to us at the Smith Law Office. Employees deserve to be paid what they earn. They also deserve to be protected from workplace accidents, and compensated appropriately when they suffer a personal injury while on the clock.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at the Smith Law Office fight to make sure this happens. By legally representing workers who have been injured on the job, we can ensure you get the care and compensation that you need and deserve. Contact us online or at (816) 875-9373.