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Labor commission intends to adopt minimum wage law

Last Thursday, the Utah Labor Commission announced the state agency's intentions to adopt the new federal minimum wage law.

The United States minimum wage law will become effective on July 24.

The federal and Utah minimum wage rate was increased in 2007 for the first time in 10 years.

In July 2007, the rate went from $5.15 an hour to $5.85, indicated the state commission.

On July 24, 2008, the second of three scheduled 70 cent hikes became effective, effectively raising Utah's minimum wage to $6.55 per hour.

Effective July 24, the rate will move to the third scheduled increase to a rate of $7.25 per hour.

"Utah statute requires the labor commission to review the state minimum wage law whenever a change occurs in the federal minimum wage law," explained Commissioner Sherrie Hayashi. "Because of this mandate and the federal minimum wage law, the Commission promulgated changes to the Utah minimum wage rules through the state administrative rule-making process in 2007."

"Utah will continue following the pay scale set forth by the federal legislation," indicated the commissioner.

The new federal and Utah laws leave unaffected the cash wage obligation of $2.13 an hour that is owed to tipped employees and the training wage rate of $4.25 an hour for minor employees during the first 90 days of employment with a single employer.

A "tipped employee" is one who customarily and regularly receives tips, who is not a chef, janitor or dishwasher, and who receives at least $30.00 a month in tips.

The new Utah minimum wage rates will apply to a tipped employee's wages where the employer is permitted to credit the employee's tips toward the effective minimum wage rate after paying the employee the cash wage obligation of $2.13 an hour.

If the cash wage obligation, plus tips, falls short of the minimum wage level over a pay period, the employer must pay the difference.

Employers may choose to pay more than $4.25 an hour to minor employees during their first 90 days of employment, but after the 90 days, minor employees are entitled to be paid wages at the new minimum wage rates.

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