In 2006, both the federal and Wisconsin minimum wages were $5.15 per hour. At that point, the federal minimum wage had less purchasing power than the $1.60 per hour minimum in the 1960s. To address this issue, the Fair Minimum Wage Act or FMWA was enacted in 2007. The FMWA set forth a series of three increases to the federal minimum wage, beginning in 2007 and ending in 2009.
Wisconsin is one of 28 states that currently have a minimum wage equal to the federal minimum wage. Those states include Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, New Hampshire, New York and Utah.
By contrast, there are 5 states with no minimum wage at all. Those states are Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina and Alabama. Kansas has the dubious distinction of being the state with the lowest minimum wage, at $2.65 per hour.
Employees in Wisconsin are entitled to the Wisconsin minimum wage unless they are covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA).
The FLSA is the relevant law for the federal minimum wage and applies to companies earning at least $500,000 per year, and to employers and individual employees engaged in interstate commerce.
Interstate commerce is defined as doing business with other states, such as manufacturing goods for sale out-of state, buying goods from out-of state, and answering phone calls from out-of-state vendors. In addition a company that uses the Internet or accepts credit card or debit card for payments is considered to be engaged in interstate commerce.
It is rare to find a business that does not engage in interstate commerce, therefore, most of the employers in all states need to pay their employees the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.
In a business that does not engage in interstate commerce, it is possible (more…)
The new Wisconsin minimum wage equals the federal minimum wage, which will increase by 70 cents to $7.25 on that date. By state statute, the Wisconsin minimum wage cannot be lower than the federal minimum wage.
The new Wisconsin minimum wage for minors is the same as for adults — $7.25 per hour. The change in the federal minimum wage effectively eliminates the state’s lower minimum wage for minors, which is $5.90 per hour prior to July 24, 2009.
However, the Wisconsin minimum wage contains a number of exceptions. First, the tipped minimum wage for Wisconsin employees remains at $2.33 per hour. Tipped employees who are not yet 20 years old and have been employed for 90 or fewer days may be paid $2.13 per hour. (more…)
As it stands now, however, Decker’s bill seems to be still working its way through the gears of politics in Wisconsin’s capital, so employers can feel somewhat content with the Wisconsin minimum wage as it stands now, as well as the Wisconsin minimum wage posters they have on their walls. Those still have the overall Wisconsin minimum wage rate at $6.50 per hour, as well as the Wisconsin minor employee minimum wage rate at $5.90 per hour, which is for workers under the age of 17.
For those workers who are so called “opportunity” workers in the state of Wisconsin—those employers under the age of 20 but not minors who have not yet workers 90 days on the job yet—their employers have a special Wisconsin minimum wage for them set at $5.90 per hour for those first 90 days.
Wisconsin also has a pretty high tip credit for employers of tipped employees, which sets the Wisconsin tipped employee minimum wage at the rate of $2.33 per hour—making the tip credit a total of $4.17 per hour. The tip credit for opportunity employees in the service industry is a little bit more. Their tipped employee minimum wage is set at $2.13 per hour. Of course, employers have to properly record the facts to show that their employees were bringing in enough tips to make up the difference and lift the employees’ hourly wage to at least the regular Wisconsin minimum wage.
All in all, if Decker’s bill does not go through, Wisconsin employers at the moment do not have to concern themselves with the goings in Washington DC, at least not until 2009, when the federal minimum wage, if passed, would raise to $7.25 per hour—a level above the current Wisconsin minimum wage. Of course, no matter what, Wisconsin employers would still need that new updated federal minimum wage poster.
The Wisconsin employers out there already saw a Wisconsin minimum wage increase last June to $6.50 per hour, up from its previous level of $5.15 per hour. But there is still a movement in the state to get the Wisconsin minimum wage to increase again this year. The movement is being led by the co chair of the Senate Finance Committee in the state legislature. Sen. Russ Decker has a proposal still in consideration that would raise the Wisconsin minimum wage to $7.25 per hour, an addition 75 cents.
According to Sen. Decker’s bill, the minimum wage change would go into effect this coming September. Included in Decker’s changes to the Wisconsin minimum wage would be one that would tie the Wisconsin minimum wage going forward to the rate of inflation in the state’s economy, or the so called Consumer Price Index. Decker claims that $7.25 per hour is the amount that a worker in the state must make in the very least in order to make ends meet. Decker is a Democrat, and could face Republican opposition in the Senate to his bill, though Democrats at the moment control the Senate.
The state Assembly, however, is controlled by the Republicans, which could lead to an interesting battle in the state capital and could explain why the bill has not made much headway or news since Decker first introduced it back in April (which is when we also first talked about Decker’s plans here, by the way—as always, right on the cutting edge of the news).
The governor of the state, Gov. Jim Doyle has not yet come out and said which way he stands on the issue as far as I and my sources can tell. Moreover, Decker’s proposal faces opposition from the state’s restaurant owners’ association as well as other employer groups.
I know we have been following an orderly progression from Alabama to Wyoming, a review of the latest and greatest minimum wage developments in the last few months, a review of all that has happened in state legislatures in this season’s sessions. But we have taken a slight detour, and I swear it is not my fault! There is just too much minimum wage news going on still—I thought I could do my review because all of the news had slowed down a bit, and all of the states that were going to change their minimum wages seemed to have done the deed already. But no—there are still minimum wage movers out there, so I must keep you up to date on them too. I know you wouldn’t have it any other way, my loyal readers!
Along with New Hampshire and Alabama out there, another minimum wage mover is the state of Wisconsin. There is a Democrat in the Wisconsin Senate that has put out a new proposal in the state to raise the Wisconsin minimum wage. This Democrat’s name is Russ Decker, and he has a bill out there to elevate the current Wisconsin minimum wage from its current level of $6.50 per hour to as much as $7.25 per hour.
Part of Sen. Decker’s law would also be to link the Wisconsin minimum wage henceforth to the rate of inflation, as well, so in subsequent years, the state’s minimum wage would continue to go up 3 percent, 4 percent, or whatever else the rate of inflation happens to be in a given year.
Decker discounts his opposition’s argument that such a raise, and the proposed follow up increases attached to the inflation rate, would hurt the state’s small businesses. But then again, he wouldn’t be supporting a minimum wage increase if he did.