The minimum wage is the lowest hourly wage that can legally be paid to workers. The federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour, has not changed since 2009. However, many states have passed their own laws to raise their minimum wage well above $7.25. For example, the minimum wage is $12.00 in Washington and $10.50 in Rhode Island. Could Oklahoma follow in the footsteps of these states? Here’s what you should know:
The Current State of Minimum Wage in Oklahoma
There are over 900,000 hourly workers in the state of Oklahoma. In 2017, approximately 12,000 of these hourly workers earned the exact minimum wage, whereas another 16,000 earned less than the state’s minimum wage.
The minimum wage in Oklahoma is currently $7.25 per hour, which adds up to $15,080 per year for a full-time worker. Many people believe that this is simply not enough to survive on, especially if the worker is responsible for providing for his or her family. For this reason, a number of state lawmakers are actively trying to increase the state’s minimum wage.
Proposed Changes to Oklahoma’s Minimum Wage Laws
Senator George Young has filed a bill that would raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.50 per hour, or the federal minimum wage, whichever is greater. If approved, the change would go into effect on January 1, 2020.
Senator Young is not the only lawmaker who has taken an interest in raising the state’s minimum wage. Representative Cyndi Munson has proposed another bill that would raise the minimum wage for state employees to $15 per hour.
At this point, it’s too early to tell whether or not these proposed changes will be approved. Many lawmakers are on board with raising the minimum wage, but some Republican lawmakers believe raising the minimum wage will lead to job losses that will hurt the state’s economy.
These lawmakers have rejected other proposed minimum wage increases in the past. For example, lawmakers in Oklahoma passed a law in 2014 prohibiting cities and towns from establishing their own minimum wage laws.
There’s no doubt that there’s still a long way to go when it comes to raising the minimum wage law in Oklahoma. But hopefully, these lawmakers are able to convince their colleagues to vote in favor of a higher minimum wage this time around.
Is your employer violating minimum wage laws? If so, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our experienced attorneys work tirelessly to recover the backpay you deserve from your employer. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.