House Bill 305 Aims to Increase Kentucky’s Minimum Wage
The Kentucky General Assembly is taking steps to increase the state’s minimum wage. Currently, Kentucky law provides for a minimum wage that equals whatever the federal law provides – presently $5.15 per hour. House Bill 305 aims to increase that level in Kentucky gradually over the next few years. The legislation, strikingly similar to a bill pending in the U.S. Congress, would raise the minimum wage to $5.85 per hour in 2007, $6.55 per hour in 2008 and $7.25 per hour in 2009.
HB 305 passed in the House in February, at which time it was sent to the Senate. Interestingly, one Senate Committee reacted to concerns that a higher minimum wage would discourage businesses from locating in Kentucky. The Committee made changes to the legislation to protect a state economic development incentives program used to attract manufacturing jobs in poor counties. The committee proposed a one-year freeze on the minimum wage at the current rate of $7.73 for any company subject to the program. The rate of $7.73 per hour is based on 150% of the federal minimum wage.
The amended HB 305 passed the Kentucky Senate by a vote of 33-1 (Republican Dick Roeding of Lakeside Park was the only “no” vote). It now heads to the Kentucky House for consideration of the changes made by the Senate. If the legislation passes, all employers with employees in Kentucky will be subject to the new rates. The change will have an effect on employers’ handbooks, overtime policies, and on the posters that must be displayed in the workplace. If you have questions or concerns about the potential impact of this legislation, please contact one of the attorneys in Frost Brown Todd’s Labor and Employment Department.