While you Utah employers are waiting for word on what your Governor and your legislature are going to do with the findings of the state committee report on the Utah minimum wage, keep your eyes peeled on the debate in Washington DC as well, between the House and the Senate and the Democrats and the Republicans.
That’s because as the Utah minimum wage law stands now, your state minimum wage is directly tied to the federal minimum wage levels. It is quite similar to the situation we saw in Texas, if you remember or read that blog post. In Texas as in Utah, the state minimum wage law does not actually state a set number for the state minimum wage. Instead, the minimum wage law basically says that whatever the federal minimum wage is, that will be the state minimum wage.
So for the moment, the Utah minimum wage is $5.15 per hour, just like the federal minimum wage. But when the federal minimum wage goes up to $5.85 per hour, 60 days after the President signs the minimum wage into law, or when it goes up to $6.55 per hour after that and $7.25 per hour a year after that in 2009, the Utah minimum wage will follow.
Of course, there is the possibility that with the passage of a new Utah minimum wage law sometime in the future, the state legislature there could disassociate the state minimum wage from the federal minimum wage, and in that case then, the Utah minimum wage would not increase to correspond with the federal minimum wage.
We’ll have to wait and see on that one. But in the meantime, Utah employers could keep their eyes on the political debate in Salt Lake City and in Washington DC, and be prepared to change their payrolls as well as buy new updated state and federal minimum wage labor law posters.
Word has it that Utah could be on the verge of becoming the next state to change their minimum wage labor laws. The Utah Governor, Jon Huntsman Jr., has made it so a report has been done on the possibility of raising the minimum wage in the state of Utah and what the effects would be in the state. He put together a committee to oversee the study, and it was just recently that the actual report was released by the Governor’s committee.
But the committee was not able to come up with a compromise or singular opinion whether or not a new minimum wage would be good for the state of Utah. They could not come up with any recommendations for the state legislature as to whether the state should act ahead of the federal Congress’ approval of the new federal minimum wage, or if the Utah state legislature should just sit back and wait to see what happens in Washington DC.
Some experts in the state say a new Utah minimum wage would not do much in way of hurting the state economy, according to my news sources. These experts say that there are already a lot of Utah workers out there making more than the $5.15 per hour that is both the Utah minimum wage and the federal minimum wage currently.
However, the Governor’s committee did find that more than 170,000 Utah workers would be affected by any change to the minimum wage, state or federal or otherwise. About 16,600 of them would actually be the people making minimum wage, whereas the rest would be people who make slightly more than the minimum wage but not quite as much as the new federal minimum wages would be, especially when it reaches up to its $7.25 per hour level, which could happen by 2009.
A number of Beehive state employers are feeling complacent about the Utah minimum wage. They think that since their company is covered by the state minimum wage, rather than the federal rate, they don’t need to worry about increased salaries in the near future.
They couldn’t be more wrong. Right now, the Utah minimum wage is $5.15 per hour – the same rate as the federal minimum wage. The federal minimum wage has been unchanged in almost 10 years. But all that’s about to change.
The Utah minimum wage law is unique. Under the current statute, the state minimum wage is increased administratively each time the federal minimum wage increase. The Utah minimum wage law doesn’t actually specify a dollar amount for the state minimum wage. Instead, it states that the federal minimum wage is tied to the federal minimum wage. So, every time the federal minimum wage increases, the Utah minimum wage increases, as well.
Several other states have minimum wages that are linked to the federal rate. These include Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Texas and Virginia. However, no other state has Utah’s unique structure for administratively increasing the minimum wage.
The federal minimum wage bill currently being debated in the Senate would increase the minimum wage by a total of $2.10 over 26 months. The changes would occur in three steps of 70 cents each. The first incremental increase, from $5.15 per hour to $5.85 per hour would occur 60 days after the minimum wage bill was signed into law by the president. Under Utah law, the state minimum wage would increase to $5.85 per hour as well. That change is likely to take place in April or May of this year.
The second increase in the federal minimum wage would occur 14 months after the bill is signed by the President. At that time, the federal minimum wage increases by 70 cents to $6.55 per hour. That change will probably occur around April or May 2008. When that happens, the Utah minimum wage would also increase to $6.55 per hour.
The final 70-cent increase in the federal minimum wage will occur 26 months after the present bill is signed into law. At that time, the federal minimum wage will increase by 70 cents to $7.25 per hour. At that point, the Utah minimum wage would increase to $7.25 per hour as well.
As you can see, the Utah minimum wage is tied to the federal minimum wage. As each increase in the federal rate takes place, the state minimum wage will increase along with it.
The Utah state minimum wage law does not contain current dollar minimums. Instead the state law authorizes the adoption of the Federal minimum wage rate of $5.15 per hour via administrative action. The State law however, excludes from coverage any employment that is subject to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
Each year Senator Ed Mayne, who is also the president of the Utah AFL-CIO, introduces a bill to increase the minimum wage. This year’s bill requested to increase Utah’s minimum wage law to $6.50 per hour. The bill failed on a 4-3 vote in February 2006 in the Workforce Services Committee.
In March of 2006 the Utah House introduced HB 313 to raise the minimum wage in Utah to $7.00 per hour which is $1.85 per hour higher than the federal minimum wage. This bill was also defeated.
However, in August 2006 the Salt Lake County democrats once again called for a 2006 ballot referendum that would set a statewide minimum wage of $7.00 per hour. The issue got the full support of attendees at the Democrat’s annual county convention as well as organized labor groups and anti-poverty organizations. The Hispanic caucus also supported the measure by stating in a resolution that minorities are typically disproportionately paid the minimum wage. But more endorsements are needed by state religious leaders, the public and of course legislators.
In order to get the issue on the 2006 ballot in Utah, two-thirds of both houses and state legislature would need to approve the issue. But it seems to be tough going in Utah’s legislative branch to come to a consensus on raising the minimum wage. The final vote for a Utah minimum wage law may just need to go to Utah voters for a majority vote. At the present time no ballot or referendum has been proposed for the state of Utah.
Many of Utah (UT) wage and hour laws are adopted from the standards set by the U.S. federal government. These laws help establish fairness in the workplace.
According to Utah (UT) wage and hour laws the current state minimum wage for Utah employees is $5.15 per hour. This could change, however, especially if the federal government decides to increase the national minimum wage in three steps up to $7.25 per hour. This could happen at any time, but has not happened yet.
Utah wage (UT) wage and hour laws list types of jobs that are exempt from minimum wage pay requirements. Certain exceptions apply regarding this, however. For instance, those who work in executive or managerial positions usually are exempt from receiving this wage. Instead, they receive a minimum salary pay per week.
Overtime is paid to most Utah employees for any hours worked over 40 per week, at a rate of one and a half times their regular hourly wage. Usually hours that count towards overtime pay are those that are actually worked. Holiday pay, sick leave, vacation days, or other paid time off are not considered paid time worked. These cannot be calculated towards the overtime rate.
Utah (UT) wage and hour laws have provisions regarding breaks for minors. For example, minors who work five or more consecutive hours are required to receive a 30-minute break, and those who work four or more hours in a row are entitled to a 10 minute break. For example, federal law states that employees over 18 who receive unpaid lunch breaks (usually 30 minutes or more) must be free from all duties during that time
Additional requirements are stated within Utah (UT) wage and hour laws for both employees and employers. Workers and businesses are advised to keep up with the latest changes regarding wages and hours that exist in this state.