Assuming a recent court order stands, Minneapolis voters will cast their ballots in November on an amendment to the City of Minneapolis Charter that would eventually raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
The amendment, proposed by a coalition of Minneapolis residents, would increase the minimum wage to $10 per hour on August 1, 2017, followed by annual increases that depend on the size of the employer. For employers with 500 or more employees nationwide, the minimum wage for Minneapolis employees would reach $15 per hour on August 1, 2020. For employers with fewer than 500 employees, the minimum wage would increase more slowly, hitting $15 on August 1, 2022. After reaching $15, the minimum wage would adjust annually to keep pace with increases to the cost of living.
The proposed amendment may create a timekeeping conundrum for employers that have employees who work both in and outside Minneapolis city limits, applying to employees “expected to work” 25 or more hours in Minneapolis in a calendar year, and covering only the hours of work performed in the city.
The current minimum wage in Minnesota is $9.50 for large employers (based on revenue) or $7.75 for small employers and certain other employees, and is subject to annual adjustments based on inflation beginning in 2018. Nonetheless, the amendment would mark a substantial increase in the minimum wage for Minneapolis employees. The amendment is similar to minimum wage provisions in effect in New York City, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The Minneapolis City Council voted earlier this month not to place the proposed amendment on the November ballot, but on August 22, 2016, a Hennepin County judge ordered the city to prepare a ballot containing the amendment. The court’s ruling held that the minimum wage is a proper subject for a charter amendment, rejecting the city’s argument that the minimum wage could be changed only through an ordinance proposed by the city council.
Barring reversal by an appellate court, Minneapolis voters will face an important decision—with significant implications for both employers and employees—this Election Day.