On July 24, 2008, when the federal minimum wage increased to $6.55 per hour, the Oklahoma state minimum wage increased, too. The state law for the Oklahoma minimum wage doesn’t even contain a dollar amount, but merely requires the state to match the federal minimum wage.
The increase in the federal minimum wage was the second in a series of three 70-cent increased mandated by the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. The next increase in the federal minimum wage will occur on July 24, 2009, so the Oklahoma state minimum wage will increase on that date, as well.
On July 24, 2008 when the federal minimum wage increase to $6.55 per hour, the Oklahoma state minimum wage will, as well. This is the second in a series of 3 70-cent increases in the federal minimum wage introduced by the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. The federal minimum wage will increase from $5.85 to $6.55 per hour.
By state statute, the Oklahoma minimum wage increases when the federal minimum wage does. In fact, according to the US Department of Labor, the Oklahoma state minimum wage statute doesn’t even contain a dollar amount. It simply adopts the federal minimum wage rate by reference.
The state minimum wage excludes (more…)
Under the Oklahoma minimum wage law, there is also a special exception for tipped employees. We have seen this before in many other states in this great land, with some states allowing employers to pay their tipped employees a set amount—a tipped employee minimum wage. Some other states require that employers pay a percentage of their regular minimum wage to these tipped employees, with the assurances that the rest of the minimum wage is made up with tips.
The Oklahoma minimum wage is one of these percentage tipped employee minimum wage states. In Oklahoma, employers must pay their tipped employees at least 50 percent of the regular Oklahoma minimum wage. But in a special quirk in the Oklahoma minimum wage law is that this 50 percent also includes room and board. For instance, if an employer provides his employees a place to stay and food to eat, they can deduct this from their employees’ minimum wage payment—but no more than 50 percent of that $5.15 per hour.
When it comes to the cost of uniforms that employers give to their employees, employers can also deduct that from their minimum wage payments as well. There does not seem to be a percentage here with that—just the straight reduction of the one time cost of the uniform.
Anyways, all of these exceptions aside, what does this all mean for employers in Oklahoma—the fact that the state minimum wage has not changed and is still linked to the federal minimum wage? It means that employers in the state could be seeing an increase the amount that they must pay their employees sooner or later. Probably sooner, considering that the House and the Senate leaders in Washington DC have come up with a compromise over that minimum wage tax break package issue.
There isn’t much news coming out of Oklahoma when it comes to the minimum wage. The state requires its employers, for the most part, to pay the federal minimum wage, which is still $5.15 per hour, despite all of the activity going on in the Washington DC halls of Congress. There are of course some exemptions to that Oklahoma law. To be considered an “employer” under the law, and thus required to pay the Oklahoma minimum wage, the employer must have 10 or more employees, or bring in more than $100,000 in revenue each year.
When it comes to certain employees, there are also exemptions under the Oklahoma law for them as well. For instance, workers on a farm or on a ranch, or anybody who works with animals or machinery on a farm or ranch, is not considered an “employee” under the Oklahoma minimum wage law. A maid is also not considered an Oklahoma employee under the Oklahoma minimum wage law, as well as someone who is working as a volunteer for a church group, some form of charity group, or a non profit corporation.
Even newspaper delivery boys and vendors, railroad workers, as well as outside salesmen, executives or some form of administrator are not considered employees. Add to that list part time temp workers who are not putting in more than 25 hours in a week. Also added to this list of non employees under the Oklahoma minimum wage law are minors under the age of 18 who have not yet graduated from school, as well as young adults under the age of 22 who are still in school as well.
What does all these exemptions mean? Well, for instance, with those students under the age of 18, the law says that for them employers can pay them a minimum wage of $2 per hour
I stand corrected on what I reported yesterday on the Oklahoma minimum wage bill. I had said that the amendment that would have raised the Oklahoma minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour did not pass in the Senate yesterday. But in reality, after checking a few more of my (more reliable) sources, I have discovered that the situation went down in Oklahoma City a little bit differently than I had first thought. Don’t get me wrong—the new minimum wage still did not pass in Oklahoma City.
What happened, though, was that the Senate actually had agreed to attach the amendment, which would raise the state minimum wage more than $2, to a bill that was all about employee training. You see, unlike what I reported yesterday, an amendment according to the state law only is required to get a simple majority to get attached to a bill.
In the Senate yesterday in Oklahoma City, Democrats got the simple majority in a 24 to 23 vote. But then what happened was the Senate voted on the overall training bill, with the amendment attached. To get an overall bill passed in the Oklahoma Senate requires that 25 votes are cast in its favor. In this case, the final vote was 24 to 24 against.
There was actually an interesting story that went along with the passage of the amendment. When Democrats were trying to get it attached to the bill, they almost did not have enough votes for that. The voting got stuck at 23 to 23, and the Dems called a recess to bring in the Lt. Gov to break the tie. But then another Senator showed up and voted for the amendment to get put on the overall training bill. It was all for naught of course, so no new Oklahoma minimum wage labor law posters for you just yet.