MINNEAPOLIS — Workers in large Minneapolis companies will see their wages increase in the new year.

Starting Jan. 1, workers at the city’s largest employers will start earning at least $10 an hour. It’s the start of a climb toward a $15 minimum wage in Minneapolis.

The City Council approved the wage ordinance in June. Under the ordinance, employers with 100 or more people on the payroll will be the first to raise hourly wages and must reach $15 by July 1, 2022.

Workers at smaller companies will get their first raise — to $10.25 an hour — on July 1. Those workers will reach $15 by July 1, 2024.

The Minneapolis pay increase coincides with a statewide minimum wage hike. Minnesota’s hourly minimum wage is $9.50 for large employers and $7.75 for small employers. Those rates will rise with inflation on Jan. 1, to $9.65 for large employers and $7.87 for small employers.

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce tried to stop the Minneapolis ordinance from going into effect, but that effort failed in early December when a Hennepin County judge denied the chamber’s request for an injunction.

“I hear from lots of employers that the money has to come from somewhere,” said Cam Winton, the chamber’s director of labor management policy. “There seems to be this misconception that all employers have massive profit margins, and that’s simply not true.”

Lisa Schmid, an employment and business attorney, told the Star Tribune some businesses already are cutting back on employee benefits to offset the higher wages. Schmid said some of her clients are cutting back on personal time off and health care benefits in order to afford the increase to $10 an hour.

But the pay increase comes as a relief for low-wage workers.

“It’s a little stress off my shoulders,” said Alexander Doebler, 24, who said he works up to 70 hours a week between two restaurant jobs in downtown Minneapolis.


Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com