Minimum wage goes up

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Many new laws took effect Friday in Minnesota. One of the most talked about is minimum wage.

Hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans have been waiting for the raise that was announced in April to begin.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, but now those in Minnesota will be earning $8 an hour. Each year will see an increase until it hits $9.50 in August 2016. Starting in January 2018, it will be based on inflation.

Local chamber of commerce leaders say it has businesses looking at their budget.

“They need to go back and reexamine their staffing levels, the way they’re delivering their service and then taking another look at their budget for operation purposes and where are they going to make that up? Is it going to be increased cost to the customer?” said Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce Interim President Dr. Jerry Williams.

He said restaurants could be hit the hardest.

“It’s going to make a difference, particularly in the hospitality industry. Many other businesses are already paying above minimum wage, but when you get the tip credit in there and some youth wages and so forth, there is going to be an impact,” Williams said.

He said it is too early to say how the new wages will pan out, but he said the gradual increase will help.
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