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Judge strikes down St. Louis minimum wage increase

St. Louis employers aren’t facing a phased-in $11 minimum wage now that a state judge has struck down a local ordinance that would have given the city a higher minimum wage than the rest of Missouri. The current minimum wage in Missouri is $7.65 per hour, 40 cents higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Steven Ohmer struck down the ordinance on October 14, a day before the first increase was to go into effect. In August, St. Louis passed the ordinance, which would have raised the minimum wage for workers in the city to $8.25 an hour on October 15. Under the ordinance, the minimum wage would have climbed to $9 an hour on January 1, 2016, $10 an hour on January 1, 2017, and $11 an hour on January 1, 2018.

The ordinance fell in a legal challenge, however, because of state law. The city’s ordinance “directly conflicted with the recent enactment of a state law prohibiting any Missouri county, city, town, or village from increasing the minimum wage rate beyond that set by the state or federal government,” according to a statement from Armstrong Teasdale LLP, the law firm that edits Missouri Employment Law Letter.

The Armstrong Teasdale statement says the city is expected to appeal, so “employers should continue to monitor the case to ensure they are prepared to comply if and when a future court decision upholds the ordinance.” In the meantime, however, employers don’t have to post notices required by the ordinance, and they don’t have to include minimum wage notices in paychecks.