Raising the Minimum Wage

Raising the Minimum Wage 

S.144 proposes an amendment to the state constitution which would upon passage make the state minimum wage one dollar higher than the federal minimum wage. Every subsequent year after passage the state minimum wage would be adjusted upward by the rate of inflation. The amendment would also prohibit an employer discriminating or taking adverse action against a person in retaliation to the person exercising the right to be paid a minimum wage. A person may seek civil relief for violation of this right which can include back wages and reinstatement in employment.

SCPC has written before that the principal effect of increasing the minimum wage will be to increase unemployment particularly among the less skilled segments of the population. Legal efforts to prohibit employers from releasing employees rather than increasing their pay (as this amendment attempts) will not help in the long run. Employers may be stuck paying some of their current employees more than they otherwise would but they will offset this by restricting their new hiring, particularly among the less skilled who most need entry level jobs. Legislators may not like the law of supply and demand but it will continue to assert itself no matter what laws the legislature passes.

(related S.145,S.146, and H.3031)

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