New Lexington — Ohio minimum wage workers now can look forward to a 25-cent raise to on Jan. 1 of 2019.

This time last year, Ohioans were excited about the 15-cent increase in the minimum wage rate; however, this year they will reap the benefit of a 25-cent increase. This increase is due to the rise in consumer prices. Minimum wage workers will see an increase from $8.30 to $8.55 an hour. For employees receiving tips, the rate will move from $4.15 to $4.30 an hour.

These raises are made possible through an amendment (II-34a) to the Ohio Constitution that was passed in 2006 to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.85, and to tie further increases to the rate of inflation.

The Ohio Department of Commerce states the change in the Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W) is used to calculate a new minimum wage by multiplying the previous minimum wage to the change in the CPI-W, and adding the result to the previous minimum and rounding to the nearest five cents.

According to a press release from Policy Matters Ohio, Ohio’s new minimum wage will be worth just 72 percent of what the federal minimum wage was worth in 1968, $11.83 in today’s dollars.

Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 and was established in 2009. Only 18 states, plus the District of Columbia, adjust their wage for inflation and 29 states have their minimum wages above the federal wage rate.

“The inflation adjustment keeps Ohio workers from falling further behind,” state Michael Shields, researcher at Policy Matters Ohio. “Moving forward, Ohio should put in place an increase beyond inflation to reflect our workforce’s improved productivity and get us back toward where wages once were.”

The report sent out by the Ohio Department of Commerce states employers who gross less than $314,000 must pay their employees, including those younger than 16, no less than the current federal minimum wage rate. Also, employees are required to be paid one-and-a-half times their hourly rate for time worked more than 40 hours a week unless the employer grosses less the $150,000 per year.

Nationally, the District of Columbia has the highest minimum wage rate at $13.25 an hour and Wyoming and Georgia with the lowest at $5.15 an hour for the year 2018.

The National Conference of State Legislatures stated in 2018 Massachusetts enacted a measure, House Bill 4640, to increase the state minimum wage to $15 over five years. The tipped wage would rise to $6.75 from $3.75 over the same time period.

Additionally, Delaware enacted Senate Bill 170, which segments in a two-step increase. Effective Jan. 1, 2019, the rate rises from $8.25 to $8.75 and will increase again to $9.25 on Oct. 1 of the same year.

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Grace Warner is a Logan Daily News staff reporter

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