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Tuesday, Sep. 16, 2014

Some minimum wage workers will see pay increase this Thursday

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

(Photo)
Sales specialist Peggy Rice, right, and assistant manager Jessica Childers check out a customer Monday at Kitchen Collection in the Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores. The Missouri Minimum Wage rate will increase by 40 cents to $7.05 an hour beginning Thursday. Leonna Heuring, Staff
SIKESTON -- A rise in the cost of living in Missouri is the reason many minimum wage earners will see an increase in their paychecks beginning Thursday.

The current Missouri Minimum Wage rate is $6.65 per hour; the rate will increase to $7.05 an hour.

"We will have minimum wage posters for employers available within a day or so alerting employees so they will know their rights under the law," said Wanda Seeney, public information administrator for the Division of Labor Standards Wage and Hour Program in Jefferson City,

Missouri Minimum Wage Law requires the Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to measure the increase or decrease in the cost of living annually. The amount of the minimum wage increase or decrease is rounded to the nearest 5 cents.

"We're seeing it increase because there was a confirmed rate change in the CPI (Consumer Price Index) between July 2007 and July 2008. The increase is based on a 6.0 percentage change in the CPI," Seeney said.

Cost of living change is calculated using CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers Midwest Region.

But the rate change doesn't necessarily apply to all employers, Seeney said.

"It's only required by businesses that have annual gross sales of $500,000 or more," Seeney said.

The Employment Policies Institute recently released new data showing last year's hike caused increased job loss in Missouri. The 2009 hike to $7.05 marks the third straight year the wage has increased, which is a 37 percent hike over that time frame. In July, minimum wage will then go up again to the federal level, $7.25, which will make a 41 percent increase over four years.

"Decades of economic research by leading economists at major universities is consistent with what we're seeing in Missouri: increased job loss follows mandated wage hikes, particularly those among the least skilled and least educated workers," said Kristen Lopez Eastlick, senior economic analyst for the Employment Policies Institute in a recent news release.

And some employees who receive a salary or earn more an hour than minimum wage workers fear their pay will be impacted by the increase in minimum wage.

Restaurants, nursing homes, child care providers and retailers are among businesses that typically employ minimum wage workers.

Jerry Johnson, manager of Lambert's Cafe in Sikeston, said the new rate will not really affect the restaurant.

"We just have to suck it it up," Johnson said, adding the increase in pay to minimum wage workers is "quite an expense."

Chuck Devers, manager and owner of Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores, said the outlet mall is changing its hours of operations in response to not only the hike in the minimum wage rate but also due to the status of the economy.

In January and February, hours of operation at the outlet mall will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday compared to its current hours of 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

"We're finding some of our tenants weren't seeing enough traffic to warrant staying open during the 9 and 10 a.m. hour," Devers said.

Hours will also likely be adjusted in the summer, Devers said. Stores will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

"In the past, stores have always been open from 9 to 9," Devers said. "For a number of our stores, managers were watching labor hours and looking at the volume of business and seeing if it's worthwhile (to be open for that hour), and it makes sense that people are looking at all of this and seeing what they can do."

But, Devers said, despite national economic woes, many of the outlet mall's stores like Carter's and Kitchen Collection had record-high years.

"I hope 2009 is a heck of a lot stronger than the national economists are saying it will be," Devers said. "With lot of hard work, I think we'll have a shot at doing that."

For more information about the minimum wage rate changes, visit www.dolir.mo.gov.