Local businesses take hike in stride

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Federal minimum wage increased 70-cents on July 1

By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

On July 1 the Federal  minimum wage went up from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour, a 70 cent increase. That amounts to a $28 per week raise for a full-time employee.

Locally the impact appears to be negligible as the majority of workers already are at or above that hourly rate.

Henry County Judge Executive John Logan Brent said one reason for that is Henry County’s proximity to Louisville. He said Louisville makes wages in neighboring areas more competitive and that the Federal minimum wage is just a baseline.

“Louisville pushes what the real minimum wage is,” Brent said. “It’s going to be different here than in eastern or southern Kentucky.”

Missy Young of Cook’s Pharmacy in Eminence said most of their employees already earn more than the minimum wage.

“We have some part-time student employees that might apply to,” she said.

Brent said students receiving minimum wage for part-time positions is the norm, but adults cannot get by.

“Even two making minimum wage can’t support a family,” he said.

Brent said the median wage in Henry County is $12.50 per hour. He said he offers guidelines to businesses interested in Henry County.

“What I tell industry,” Brent said,  “is that we want at least $10 an hour and benefits.”

School representatives said they also were not affected by the change.

EIS Financial officer Darlene Bates said the school system’s pay scale starts out higher than $7.25.

“The increase doesn’t really matter,” she said. “All our workers make more than minimum wage.”

Bates said the only exceptions she could think of were students. “We paid some student workers minimum wage for a few hours they worked this summer,” she said.

HCPS Superintendent Tim Abrams said his district also was unaffected by the change. “This will have no impact on the school budget,” he said.

Local Subway restaurant manager Bassem Qundll said some employees will see a bit of a bump in their hourly rates.

“We are already around that ($7.25),” he said. “It might affect payroll a little, but that’s fine.”

Campbellsburg IGA assistant manager, Neil Smith said the grocery retailer employs around 15 and many of the employees there already made at least the new minimum.

“Sure it will make our payroll go up a little,” he said. “It’s just kind of one of those things.”

Don Dalger, administrator at Homestead Nursing Center said the company already pays its staff of about 100 better than $7.25 per hour. “This has no affect,” he said.

Young said, though, that minimum wage increases can have a negative impact on a business.

“It affects operating costs,” she said, “so businesses either eat some of it or pass some on. It’s an ever-growing cycle.”

This is the third increase in the Federal minimum wage since June 2007 when the Fair Labor Standards Act was amended. The FLSA was originally enacted in 1938, and the minimum wage was set at $0.25 per hour.

It was raised by 70 cents on June 26, 2007 from $5.15 to $5.85. On July 1, 2008 it was raised to $6.55, then again this year to the current $7.25 per hour. The change in 2007 was the first increase to the Federal minimum wage since 1997.


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