As we ring in the New Year, Missouri minimum wage workers are getting slightly bigger pay checks. Voters approved an increase of 15 cents to $7.50 an hour.
The co-owner of a Columbia restaurant said the increase will help about 2 dozen of his employees.
The owners of Columbiaâ??s Jazz Restaurant spent the first day of the year cleaning up the remains of their New Yearâ??s Eve party. The New Year also had them changing their books to adjust to Missouriâ??s new minimum wage of $7.50. All of the restaurantâ??s kitchen workers make more than minimum wage. The restaurantâ??s waiters and waitresses get paid half of the minimum wage and rely on their customers for the biggest chunk of their checks.
Jazz co-owner Jeff England said, â??In my opinion, servers are not minimum wage employees because they all make 10, 15, 20 dollars an hour in tips. They rely on tips. Nevertheless, they get a pay increase.â??
Missouri is one of 13 states that saw a minimum wage increase with the New Year. The increase comes during a national debate over low wages. Fast food workers have been protesting for more than a year and asking for better pay as high as $15 an hour.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25. President Obama and other Democrats in Washington want to raise it to $10.10. House Republican Leaders are against that increase because they say it would force employers to layoff some of the workers.
The State of Washington currently has the nationâ??s highest minimum wage at $9.19 an hour.
California will raise its minimum wage to $9 an hour in July.