The minimum wage for workers working within the city limits of St. Louis will increase from $7.65 per hour to $8.25 per hour on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, if the raise is not blocked by court order. Pursuant to St. Louis City Ordinance No. 70078, employers are required to provide employees with notice of the wage increase in two ways. First, employers must post a notice advising employees of the current minimum wage and their rights under the ordinance. This posting must be done in a conspicuous place at every facility within the boundaries of the city of St. Louis where employees work. Second, every employer also must provide this notice with the employee’s first paycheck subject to the new minimum wage. 

The City of St. Louis Department of Human Services today posted form notices on its website for employers, but the Department is still waiting for aldermanic approval for these notices. That approval is expected before Thursday. 

The minimum wage increase to $8.25 per hour on October 15 will be effective for just a short time, as the ordinance outlines a series of annual wage increases thereafter. On January 1, 2016, the minimum wage will again increase to $9.00 per hour, followed again by an increase to $10.00 per hour on January 1, 2017. Under this ordinance, the last set increase will occur on January 1, 2018, at which time the minimum wage rate will increase to $11.00 per hour. In 2019 and beyond, the minimum wage will increase based on any percentage rise to inflation. 

The City minimum wage has been the source of recent litigation in the city of St. Louis, and thus may not go into effect on October 15. On October 6, Judge Steven Ohmer of the St. Louis Circuit Court heard arguments from business groups that this ordinance violates state law. The current state law prohibits any city or town in Missouri from establishing a minimum wage rate that exceeds the wage rate set by state or federal law. In Missouri, the state minimum wage is $7.65 per hour. This law recently went into effect after the Missouri House and Senate voted to override Governor Nixon’s previous veto of the bill. 

Judge Ohmer’s decision is expected before the local St. Louis City ordinance is scheduled to go into effect. As employers wait to hear the court’s determination as to the validity of this ordinance, they should prepare themselves for the immediate effect that the ordinance will produce should it go into effect. These actions should include having notices ready to post and payroll ready to adjust to this potential wage increase.