MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Friday morning, advocates came together, calling on Mayor Betsy Hodges to use budget money to help enforce the city’s new wage and sick laws. This comes after the Minneapolis City Council decided to bump up the minimum wage to $15 an hour in June.
Organizers told WCCO’s Mary McGuire they have won the battle when it comes to wage and sick laws, but it doesn’t really mean anything if those laws aren’t enforced properly.
Back in June, the Minneapolis City Council voted to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. That applies to most employees in the city, even those who earn tips. But some advocates say the laws aren’t enough. They want Mayor Betsy Hodges to include funding for six enforcement officials and $600,000 for community organizations to make sure employers are following the laws on the books.
“Wage theft is a significant problem across Minnesota, across the country. We did a survey a couple of years ago where we found that 49 percent of low wage workers had at some point experienced wage theft,” Veronica Mendez Moore of CTUL said.
Companies have between five and seven years to phase in the minimum wage hike based on their size. Right now, the minimum wage is between $7.75 and $9.50 an hour. Minneapolis was the first city in the Midwest to approve a $15 an hour minimum wage.
Mayor Hodges is expected to release her official budget on Tuesday. That budget announcement was delayed due to the shooting death of Justine Damond and Minneapolis police chief shakeup that ensued.