The minimum wage ordinance, which will raise the wage to $10.10/hour over 3 years, is on the council docket for a second reading at the 11/19/15 council meeting that starts at 6:00 p.m. This is a crucial, final step for the ordinance before Council. A majority vote by Council in favor of the ordinance and a signature from the mayor will make it law.
As a reminder, an ordinance typically is vetted at a work session, and then it is placed on the docket for two separate readings to ensure the public has ample time to comment on the potential law. This ordinance has also been considered by the council’s Budget, Finance, and Economic Development Committee and been the subject of a number of special meetings and public hearings.
I believe this ordinance is an important step forward for Lexington. I have listened to the arguments put forward by those who oppose this ordinance and I understand the concerns expressed. But I disagree with the conclusion that raising the minimum wage will harm those at the lower end of the income scale or our economy overall. On the contrary, raising the minimum wage will provide needed relief to those individuals and families whose earning power has been significantly eroded compared to the rising cost of living, and it will benefit the entire community.
An Ordinance creating Chapter 13a of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Code of Ordinances establishing a minimum wage in Lexington-Fayette County of $8.20 per hour beginning July 1, 2016, $9.15 per hour, beginning July 1, 2017 and $10.10 per hour beginning July 1, 2018; providing an exemption for agricultural workers; providing remedies for employees paid less than the minimum wage; and providing for a formal review of the minimum wage on or before July 1, 2018.
For additional context on this issue, see my earlier blog posts:
- The Gap Between Wages and the Cost of Living
- Minimum Wage Increase for Lexington: Ongoing Deliberations
- Public Comment Opportunity for Minimum Wage
- Minimum Wage Increase Delayed
- Minimum Wage Wins Early Legal Test
- Council Advances Minimum Wage Consideration
- Resignation from CommerceLexington
- Minimum Wage Meeting Postponed
- Minimum Wage of $10.10 Advances to the Council Docket
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