Minimum Wage Increase may be Headed to the Ballot in 2024

Jun 6, 2024

Missouri voters are likely to decide this fall on an amendment to the State Constitution that would allow Missouri workers to earn up to seven paid sick days per year and would gradually raise Missouri’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2026.

According to the St. Louis organization, Missouri Jobs With Justice, no one should have to choose between their paycheck and their family’s health. However, this is not the reality in Missouri. “That’s why we are working toward earned paid sick time off and a fair minimum wage for Missouri workers,” the organization said.

More than 210,000 Missourians signed the initiative petition to put Missourians for Healthy Families and Fair Wages on the 2024 Missouri ballot. The number of signatures is nearly double the amount needed to make the statewide ballot. Petitioners need at least 107,246 signatures to make the ballot.

Besides the minimum wage increase on the amendment, workers would earn one hour of paid sick time off for every 30 hours worked. This is about seven days a year for full-time workers at larger companies and about five days a year for full-time workers at smaller companies.

The Missouri minimum wage is currently $12.30 per hour, a product of Proposition B in 2018 which raised the minimum wage from $7.85 to $12 in five years followed by cost-of-living adjustments. The 2018 initiative won over 62.3 percent of voters.

Before that, voters approved a minimum-wage hike in 2006, which raised the floor to $6.50 or the federal minimum wage, whichever is higher. It was passed with nearly 75 percent of the vote that year.

Missouri’s minimum wage rate in 2024 is $12.30 per hour. Missouri employers engaged in retail or service businesses whose annual gross income is less than $500,000 are not required to pay the state minimum wage rate. Employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act must pay the $7.25 federal minimum wage.

Across the nation, the highest minimum wages in 2024 are $17.50 in Washington, DC; $16.28 in Washington state; $16 in California; $15.69 in Connecticut; $15.13 in New Jersey; $15 in Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York. The lowest minimum wages currently are $5.15 in Wyoming, and $7.25 in several states including Wisconsin, Utah, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, North Carolina, and Texas.

States near Missouri include Kansas, $7.25; Illinois, $14; Iowa, $7.25; and Arkansas, $11.

In early May, the collected signatures were turned in to the Secretary of State’s office and work is underway to count and verify the signatures of Missouri registered voters. The office expects to complete the verification process in early August. Missouri Jobs With Justice leaders along with Missourians for Healthy Families and Fair Wages celebrated in front of the Secretary of State’s office in Jefferson City when the signatures were submitted.

Missouri Jobs with Justice is the leading grassroots pushing this effort to the ballot and voters.

Since 2006, Missouri Jobs with Justice leaders have gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures to expand Medicaid, raise the minimum wage, clean up democracy, and reject so-called “right to work” laws in Missouri.

Missouri Jobs with Justice leaders and their coalition members kicked off the grassroots signature gathering efforts across the state in April 2023.

Missouri Jobs With Justice was founded in 1999 as a part of the St. Louis Living Wage Ordinance campaign.

According to their website and promotional materials, “Missouri Jobs With Justice leaders will continue to talk to voters, hold leaders accountable, defend direct democracy, and advocate for policies that work for working people.”

The full ballot summary language can be found below:

Do you want to amend Missouri law to:

  • increase minimum wage January 1, 2025, to $13.75 per hour, increasing $1.25 per hour each year until 2026, when the minimum wage would be $15.00 per hour;
  • adjust minimum wage based on changes in the Consumer Price Index each January beginning in 2027;
  • require all employers to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty hours worked;
  • allow the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to provide oversight and enforcement; and
  • exempt governmental entities, political subdivisions, school districts and education institutions?

State governmental entities estimate one-time costs ranging from $0 to $53,000, and ongoing costs ranging from $0 to at least $256,000 per year by 2027. State and local government tax revenue could change by an unknown annual amount depending on business decisions.

For full text see initiative petition filing 2024-038 online at: 2024 Initiative and Referendum Petitions Filed (mo.gov)