On Thursday, we debated the Uniform Employment Standards Act late into the night. After much debate this bill ultimately passed the House. Only 2 DFL legislators voted for the bill.
HF600, the Uniform Employment Standards Act, clarifies what level of government can set minimum wage and employment standards; the state.
Recently there has been a trend, especially in the Metro, of local governing bodies (cities, towns, counties, and the Met Council) setting different minimum wage standards and employment benefit requirements than the state. This creates a confusing patchwork of ordinances and mandates that are very difficult for our business community to navigate.
As it stands now, employers from outstate that have employees spending 80 or more hours in Minneapolis for work are required to pay that employee Minneapolis-set minimum wage and benefits. This means that companies who transport their goods and services through Minneapolis have to restructure their accounting practices to be able to do business. These higher wages are often unsustainable for small employers wanting to expand, and this hits small businesses in Greater Minnesota hardest.
Our businesses can and are competing to provide wages and benefits that attract and retain the most qualified employees. We don’t need another level of government stepping between businesses and their employees. Communities do better when their business succeed and are able to provide more jobs at higher wages. Keeping regulations consistent in Minnesota paves the way for economic growth.
Our state government has been responsible for setting minimum wage standards for the last 160 years (since Minnesota first became a state). This bill makes sure that Minnesota business know exactly what employment standards they must meet when they expand to other areas of our state. It also makes sure that important issues like minimum wage and benefits are determined by a level of government that applies to all Minnesotans. These issues deserve state attention, as has been the case throughout our state’s history.
I will keep you updated on this issue as it is debated by the Senate.