Mayor Melvin Carter and Councilmember Chris Tolbert Announce $15 Minimum Wage Ordinance for the City of Saint Paul

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 9, 2018
Contact: Liz Xiong
liz.xiong@ci.stpaul.mn.us
651-357-8448

SAINT PAUL - Today, Mayor Melvin Carter and Councilmember Chris Tolbert announced a $15 minimum wage ordinance for the City of Saint Paul. The ordinance will be presented to the Saint Paul City Council for a first reading at the October 17 City Council meeting. 

“This ordinance will provide a much needed raise to over 56,000 Saint Paul workers,“ said Mayor Melvin Carter. “I appreciate Councilmember Tolbert’s leadership on this effort, and look forward to working with the entire City Council to pass it into law before the end of this year.”

“This ordinance is the culmination of the intensive study by the Citizen League task force, public meetings across the city, and research – reflecting what we heard and what we learned,” said Councilmember Chris Tolbert. “This draft will be the start of the City Council ordinance process and I look forward to hearing from people as we work to finalize an ordinance that works best for Saint Paul.”

"We are poised to move forward with a strong minimum wage ordinance that will lift thousands of Saint Paul families," said Council President Brendmoen. "I appreciate the work of the Citizen's League, their 21-member task force, and for Mayor Carter and Councilmember Tolbert's work on this important step for our city." 

“Increasing the minimum wage is one way to close the poverty gap in Saint Paul. Equally important, the City needs to provide our immigrant and small businesses with equitable support so they can successfully pay $15 an hour,” said Councilmember Dai Thao. “I look forward to working with Mayor Carter, the City Council, and our community towards an ordinance that works for our city.”

“This is an exciting moment for our city, and a critical step toward greater prosperity for all Saint Paul workers,” said Councilmember Mitra Nelson. “I am proud to see a strong ordinance that incorporates the vision and recommendations of our community. I’m eager to work with my colleagues to move this ordinance forward, and to achieve one fair wage for the city of Saint Paul.”  

“For the communities I represent, a higher minimum wage is essential,” said Councilmember Jane Prince. “I am proud of the open and engaging process that has resulted in this draft ordinance.”

About the $15 Minimum Wage Ordinance
Upon adoption, the City of Saint Paul Minimum Wage Ordinance sets the minimum wage at $15.00 per hour, indexed to inflation. The phase-in period will begin in 2020. The phase-in period length for employers will be dependent on business size, as determined by numbers of employees. Employers will be classified into one of three groups - large, small, and micro businesses.

A large business will be considered any business that employs more than 100 persons. Starting in 2020, large businesses will be on a 5-year phase-in, reaching a $15 minimum wage by July 1, 2023. The minimum wage for large businesses will be indexed to inflation each subsequent year starting in 2024.

A small business will be considered any business that employs 100 or fewer persons. Starting in 2020, small businesses will be on a 7-year phase-in, reaching a $15 minimum wage by July 1, 2025. The minimum wage for small businesses will be indexed to inflation each subsequent year starting in 2026.

A micro business will be considered any business that employs 5 or fewer persons. Starting in 2020, micro businesses will be on a 9-year phase-in, reaching a $15 minimum wage by July 1, 2027. The minimum wage for micro businesses will be indexed to inflation each subsequent year starting in 2028.

The City of Saint Paul will lead the phase-in citywide with its own employees through a 3-year period starting on January 1, 2020, and reaching a $15 minimum wage starting July 1, 2022.

Adjustments 
The City of Saint Paul $15 minimum wage ordinance contains adjustments:

  • City-approved youth training and apprentice programs, as defined by the City’s Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity, must pay participants in qualified training or apprenticeship programs a wage not less than 85% of the current year’s small business minimum wage rate.
  • Businesses must pay youth workers, 14 to 17 years old, a wage not less than 85% of the current year’s small business rate for their first 90 days, and the full applicable minimum wage thereafter.
  • Any employer who is a part of an independent baseball league may compensate employees who appear on the team roster pursuant to a negotiated contract.
  • Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement may waive the ordinance in their collective bargaining agreement.
  • Qualified employers who employ persons with disabilities that are classified as extended employment workers as defined in Minnesota Rules part 3300.2005, subpart 18 and participating in the Minnesota Statutes, Section 268A 15 extended employment program, are exempt from the City ordinance.

The City of Saint Paul $15 minimum wage ordinance does not contain an adjustment for tipped employees.

About the Citizen’s League Minimum Wage Study Committee
To support the development of the City of Saint Paul $15 minimum wage ordinance, the Citizen’s League conducted a two-phase process:

  • Phase 1 of the Citizen’s League minimum wage process began in the fall of 2017 and involved consulting more than 200 members of the Saint Paul community to gather qualitative data. The Phase 1 report was published in February 2018 and provided insights into multiple issues and questions about a minimum wage ordinance for the City.
  • Phase 2 of the Citizen’s League minimum wage study began in May 2018 and involved a 21-member study committee who was tasked with making recommendations around four specific ordinance components. These included the appropriate wage level, exempted industries or job categories, the role of tips in calculating wages, and phase-in times for implementation.

The minimum wage scenario that garnered the highest level of support , with 77% of the members agreeing, included a wage rate of $15 indexed to inflation; an adjustment for city-approved youth training programs for 180 days; an adjustment for workers with disabilities; a small business phase-in period of 7 years; a large business phase-in period of 5 years; and no tip adjustment. 

About the City’s Process
Throughout 2018, the Mayor’s Office, City Council, and City Departments have engaged the hospitality sector, manufacturing industry, small business owners, full-service restaurant owners, servers, advocates, union workers, low wage workers, and others across the city about a minimum wage ordinance for Saint Paul.

In the summer of 2018, the City held four Minimum Wage Public Input and Discussion Sessions. These sessions engaged more than 300 Saint Paul business owners, workers, and residents and collected community input regarding a citywide minimum wage increase. The Mayor’s Office also convened two roundtable conversations with tip-credit and anti-tip penalty advocates and groups.

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