In the upcoming election, Missouri is considering Proposition B, a statute that would increase Missouri’s minimum wage to $12 per hour by the year 2023.
If passed, the minimum wage would increase to $8.60 in 2019 and would be increased by 85 cents each year until it reached $12 in 2023. Currently, Missouri’s minimum wage is $7.85. The minimum wage would increase as follows:
All increases would be effective Jan. 1 of each year.
Currently, there are over 500 students employed by Missouri Western. Career Development Director Vincent Bowhay says that the majority of student employees on campus are making Missouri’s minimum wage.
“Most student employment positions start at a minimum wage, so we have to choose whether or not we go with the federal or the state [minimum wage], and in those situations, we always go with the higher wage,” Bowhay said.
Vice President of Financial Planning and Administration Cale Fessler says that students will be most impacted at first.
“It will primarily, at least at first implementation, impact student employees,” Fessler said. “We have some positions that start close to $11, so it may impact some of those down the line if it passes.”
Fessler says that there has not been any word of an increase in state funding to accompany the minimum wage increase, which could cause Western to reevaluate some aspects of student employment.
“Primarily, the impact would be over time, unless we were to receive funding or come into that [funding], a reduction in hours to keep the same level of funds available to the students,” Fessler said.
Director of Human Resources Sara Freemyer says that Western has been able to adjust to previous minimum wage increases.
“Typically when we’ve had a minimum wage in the past, we were able to just go ahead and increase those minimum wages for student employees, and that’s where it hit mostly,” Freemyer said.
“If it passes and it’s an 85-cent increase, that’s going to be ok. If it’s a huge jump, then we’d have to look at positions at that time,” Freemyer said.
Bowhay says that there will still be a need for employees regardless of the minimum wage.
“Offices still need to function. Businesses still need employees after graduation,” Bowhay said. I think that, like every other business or education entity, we’d have to figure out what that looks like so that we’re making good stewardship of our funds.”
Proposition B will be voted on by Missouri citizens on Nov. 6. To vote, you must go to the polls in the district that your home address is located.