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House tees up vote on minimum wage hike

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Democrats Updated: May 1, 2013 - 12:48 PM

3MzevE">The Minnesota House is preparing for a Friday vote on the state's first hike in the minimum wage in eight years.

If the House bill becomes law, the state's hourly wage floor would hurtle past the federal standard of $7.25 an hour to $9.50 an hour by 2015. The current legal state minimum is $6.15 an hour for most employers, making it one of the lowest in the country and meaning that the higher federal level applies to most businesses.

The measure slated to be debated on Friday would also standardized a 40 hour work week for almost all Minnesotans and give most employees the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave when they have or adopt children.

The three positions could impact vast swaths of Minnesotans. If the minimum wage goes up to $9.50 up to 400,000 Minnesotans could see bigger pay checks.

Because of current exemptions for small businesses, about 8,500 businesses in Minnesota are now allowed to grant only six weeks of family leave. If that benefit was extended to 12 weeks, as outlined in the House measure, between 178,000 and 425,000 workers could get the right to more unpaid family leave time.

Different exemptions from the standard 40-hour work week mean that between 80,000 and 115,000 Minnesotans now get overtime only after working 48 hours. Under the measure, a 40 hour standard would be extended to that group of workers.

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