Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is raising the minimum wage for state employees and challenges public and private employers to follow the lead.
Beshear signed the executive order today to institute a wage raise for employees working for the state executive branch to $10.10 per hour up from the current $7.25 per hour.
“When people work hard at a full-time job, they should have enough money to live on. Right now, at minimum wage, they don’t. That’s unacceptable,” said Beshear. “A raise of less than $3 per hour may be enough for some employees to move off government assistance programs. That empowers workers and lowers costs for taxpayers. Kentucky businesses should follow the example we’re setting as the state’s largest employer and raise the minimum wage for their workers.”
The policy change affects 510 state workers who earn less than $10.10 per hour, as well as an additional 269 who earn around $10 per hour who will see a small raise. Tipped employees, such as restaurant servers, will see an increase in their base hourly income from $2.19 an hour to $4.90 an hour, which matches recent federal changes.
The pay increase will cost about $1.6 million with less than $800,000 of the cost coming from General Fund dollars.
The new policy also requires private companies with service contracts with the state pay a minimum wage of at least $10.10 an hour to their employees who perform work on or in connection with government contracts. That requirement will be added to contracts as they come up for renewal.
“Hundreds of state government workers are caring for our veterans in nursing homes, maintaining our parks system and helping our adults with mental disabilities for about $15,000 a year. That’s a disgrace. Raising their pay is a moral imperative,” said Beshear. “I call on every business leader and local government to take a hard look at the facts. Paying our people a living wage isn’t a fiscal backbreaker, and the impacts will be extraordinarily beneficial.”