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Michigan minimum wage rises to $8.90 an hour

Michigan workers who make the minimum wage are getting a 40-cents-an-hour raise.

The state hourly minimum went from $8.50 to $8.90 on Sunday. It’s the second straight yearly increase under a 2014 law that gradually raised the wage by 25 percent.

The 40-cent increase means those working full time will earn $16 more a week, or $832 a year. Many making the minimum wage work part time and tend to be younger.

At $8.90, Michigan’s minimum wage is 15th-highest among states. Nineteen states rang in the year with an increase in the minimum.

The state Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, citing federal data, says 101,000 people in Michigan were working at or below the federal minimum in 2015. That is 3.3 percent of all hourly workers.

In 2018, Michigan’s minimum will rise to $9.25, after which it will increase with inflation every year but no more than 3.5 percent. Scheduled inflationary bumps will not take effect if unemployment is 8.5 percent or higher for the prior year.

The amount that employers can pay 16- and 17-year-olds — which is 85 percent of the minimum wage — rose from $7.25 to $7.57 on Sunday. Employers can pay 16- to 19-year-olds an hourly training wage of $4.25 for the first 90 days of employment.

The minimum rate for workers who earn tips went up from $3.23 to $3.38. Businesses must still ensure tipped employees make at least $8.90 an hour overall.

A month ago, fast-food restaurant workers and home and child-care workers across the country held protests in cities, including Detroit, to demand a $15 minimum wage.

President-elect Donald Trump has said he supports an increase to $10, but thinks states should “really call the shots.”

Low-paying industries, such as retail, are among the largest and fastest-growing. Proponents of a higher wage say workers are struggling to get by.

Businesses say mandated pay hikes hurt the economy by cutting jobs and hours.

Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers enacted Michigan’s wage increases to thwart an election-year ballot drive that was backed by labor interests and community organizers.

Source: The Detroit News
Photo: Shutterstock