California’s disastrous $20 minimum wage might be coming to Minnesota

A $20 minimum wage taking effect on April 1 is already causing havoc in California. According to the Wall Street Journal,

Some restaurants there are already laying off staff and reducing hours for workers as they try to cut costs.

California restaurants, particularly pizza joints, have outlined plans to cut hundreds of jobs in the months leading up to the April 1 wage mandate, according to state records. Other operators said they have halted hiring or are scaling back workers’ hours. 

Michael Ojeda, a Pizza Hut driver for eight years in Ontario, Calif., received notice in December that his last day would be in February, according to a letter from his former employer. Pizza Hut franchisee Southern California Pizza offered $400 in severance if he stayed through February, but Ojeda, who said he made hundreds of dollars a week in wages and tips as a delivery driver, went on unemployment instead. 

Numerous other businesses have also announced plans to raise food prices to cover the higher labor costs.

Unfortunately, these disastrous consequences might be coming to Minnesota too. As I wrote previously, Minnesota politicians in this session are taking a stab at the minimum wage issue. Specifically,

In a newly introduced bill SF 4019, three DFL senators have suggested gradually raising Minnesota’s minimum wage for large employers to $20 by 2028. Currently, large employers pay $10.85 an hour.

The minimum wage for small employers, which currently is at $8.85, will also rise to $18 by 2028. After 2028, the minimum wage will be adjusted for inflation every year for both small and large employers, per Minnesota law.

But that is not the only bill proposing minimum wage changes.

Another bill, SF 3947, would require both large and small employers to pay the same minimum wage beginning in 2025. That is, the minimum wage for smaller employers, which currently sits at $8.85 an hour will rise to what big businesses are currently paying — $10.85 an hour.

Both of these bills have advanced in the legislature with possible inclusion in an omnibus bill. SF 3947, for instance, was heard in the Senate Labor Committee on March 19. Its House companion, HF 4050, is on the House General Register.

SF 4019, which raises the minimum wage to $20 was also held in the Senate Labor Committee on March 19. Currently, the bill has no House companion.

For the sake of Minnesota businesses and employees, let’s hope our lawmakers are sensible enough to learn from what’s currently happening in California.