Change affects nearly 800 employees
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 8, 2015) — Beginning July 1 the minimum wage for state employees—except those who earn tips—will be $10.10 per hour, Gov. Steve Beshear announced today. The minimum for tipped employees will be more than doubled to $4.90 per hour. The new policy will affect nearly 800 state employees. The current state minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
“When people work hard at a full-time job, they should have enough money to live on. Right now, at minimum wage, they don’t. That’s unacceptable,” Beshear said. “A raise of less than $3 per hour may be enough for some employees to move off government assistance programs. That empowers workers and lowers costs for taxpayers. Kentucky businesses should follow the example we’re setting as the state’s largest employer and raise the minimum wage for their workers.”
The policy change affects 510 workers who earn less than $10.10 per hour, as well as an additional 269 who earn around $10 per hour. Tipped employees, such as restaurant servers, will see an increase in their base hourly income from $2.19 an hour to $4.90 an hour, which matches recent federal changes.
Raising wages will cost about $1.6 million, with less than $800,000 of the cost will come from General Fund dollars.
“As someone who has led the fight the last two legislative sessions to raise the state’s minimum wage, I am certainly pleased to see Gov. Beshear take this step for our lowest-paid state employees, and I’m also supportive of having the legislative branch follow suit,” House Speaker Greg Stumbo said on Monday. “I’m hoping that we finally convince the Senate to pass my bill next year. If we wait on Congress to act, as the law now calls for, the only thing we know for sure is that whatever they do, it will be too little, too late.”
The new policy also requires that private companies with service contracts with state government pay a minimum wage of at least $10.10 an hour to those of their employees who perform work on or in connection with those government contracts. That requirement will be added to contracts as they come up for renewal.
Of the 510 employees who currently make less than $10.10 an hour, more than a third work for the Kentucky Department of Veterans’ Affairs and another 90 work in behavioral health agencies, taking care of vulnerable Kentuckians.