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MN Low-Wage Workers to See Small Pay Bump

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While Minnesota's minimum wage is seeing only a slight inflation adjustment in 2021, it's still well above the national hourly minimum wage of $7.25. (Adobe Stock)
While Minnesota's minimum wage is seeing only a slight inflation adjustment in 2021, it's still well above the national hourly minimum wage of $7.25. (Adobe Stock)
December 31, 2020

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- More than 200,000 Minnesota workers will see a small increase in their earnings, starting Jan. 1, when the state's minimum wage is adjusted for inflation.

The Department of Labor and Industry said it will increase to $10.08 for large employers, and $8.21 for smaller businesses.

Minneapolis and St. Paul are not included, as both cities have their own, higher wage levels.

Dennis Parker, executive director of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, said moves like this, along with new federal stimulus payments, can help with basic survival, but larger reforms are still needed.

"All of this is happening in the context of the growing gap in wages and wealth between the wealthiest people and those who are not doing well," Parker asserted.

A report from the Pew Research Center just prior to the pandemic said upper-income households in the U.S. have experienced most of the income growth in recent decades.

Many pro-business groups have been resistant to minimum-wage hikes, saying they could force smaller companies to lay off workers.

But Parker contended too often, companies - especially larger ones - put profits before workers who can't cover their basic household expenses.

"You pay a CEO who is leaving an enormous payment," Parker complained. "The argument that it [a higher wage] is economically unfeasible just doesn't ring true."

Parker added he hopes the economic gaps further exposed by the pandemic will result in long-term changes, including a new focus on livable wages, health-care access and worker safety.

The Department of Labor and Industry said as of February, more than 8% of Minnesota jobs paid the minimum wage or less.

Mike Moen, Public News Service - MN