Effective October 15, 2015, the minimum wage for employees working in St. Louis will increase to $8.25 per hour from the state minimum of $7.65 per hour pursuant to St. Louis City Ordinance 70078, which was passed on August 28, 2015.

The increased minimum wage for employees working within the geographic boundaries of the City has been challenged on grounds that it conflicts with state law. That case (No. 1522-CC10607) is pending before the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis and a decision is expected soon.

Under the ordinance, employers also must post a notice by October 15 advising employees of the current minimum wage (and subsequent increases in the minimum wage) as well as employees’ rights under the ordinance. Additionally, the first paycheck issued after October 15, 2015, must include a notice advising employees of the current minimum wage and the employees’ rights under the ordinance.

The ordinance also mandates further minimum wage increases, as follows:

  • $9.00 per hour effective January 1, 2016,
  • $10.00 per hour effective January 1, 2017, and
  • $11.00 per hour minimum wage effective January 1, 2018.

Penalties for non-compliance with the ordinance include a maximum fine of $500 per violation and a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail.

The ordinance also prohibits employers from interfering with, restraining, or denying the exercise of any rights bestowed by the ordinance. Accordingly, employers are prohibiting from terminating employment, reducing compensation, or taking other adverse employment action for an employee’s act of complaining to the Department of Human Services, the employer, a union, other employees, or legal counsel regarding an alleged violation of the ordinance or otherwise exercising, in good faith, the rights protected under the ordinance.

Employers should monitor the case before the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. In the interim, employers must be prepared to comply with the pay and notice requirements of the ordinance.