Youth Minimum Wage May Take Dollar an Hour Away from Every Teen Worker

One misconception about Senate Bill 177, the youth minimum wage, came up yesterday in my conversation with Rick Knobe on KSOO Viewpoint University. As we discussed our petition drive to put the youth minimum wage on hold and refer it to a public vote, Knobe asked if the youth minimum wage just affects kids working at seasonal jobs.

Let’s review the exact text of Section 1 of the law:

Section 1. That § 60-11-3 be amended to read as follows:

60-11-3. Every employer shall pay to each employee wages at a rate of not less than eight dollars and fifty cents an hour. Violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor. The provisions of this section do not apply to certain employees being paid an opportunity wage pursuant to § 60-11-4.1, babysitters, employees under age eighteen, or outside salespersons. The provisions of this section also do not apply to employees employed by an amusement or recreational establishment, an organized camp, or a religious or nonprofit educational conference center if one of the following apply:

  1. The establishment, camp, or center does not operate for more than seven months in any calendar year; or
  2. During the preceding calendar year, the average receipts of the establishment, camp, or center for any six months of the calendar year were not more than thirty-three and one-third percent of its average receipts for the other six months of the year [2015 Senate Bill 177].

SB 177 simply adds the phrase “employees under age eighteen” to the criteria exempting workers from the minimum wage. No exception is made for young workers in certain settings, though the subsequent text shows that current law already allows owners of amusement parks and other seasonal facilities to pay their workers less. SB 177 extends that exception to every worker under 18, seasonal or ongoing. That’s all the more reason for every young worker to round up their voting-age friends and family and circulate our petition to refer SB 177 to a public vote.

5 Responses to Youth Minimum Wage May Take Dollar an Hour Away from Every Teen Worker

  1. The republican would love to see Medicare and Social Security privatized or ended completely. This has been the goal since these life saving social nets were enacted into law under Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat in 1935 and Lyndon Johnson, also a Democrat, in 1965. By bleeding the buck an hour wage from teen workers, they just put another brick in the wall for the funding of both programs for the social good of all. Voters understood the implications of this as well as fairness itself when this first came up and voted with enthusiasm to make the wage increase across the board. Once again it is clear that the republican representation in Pierre is only interested in their national tea party platform with little to no interest in the needs of South Dakotan’s.

  2. Here’s a couple of good articles to bring more context to the debate. I especially like Lawrence Diggs’ column in the AAN (Thanks Mercer)

    Then there is the national trend of paying a higher minimum wage and why.

    “For some companies, the pay raise has been compelled by a sense of ethical leadership.”

    “Other firms have been motivated by the desire to maintain market share.”

    “Competition is also driving wages up. Call it a wage-hike domino effect. As the U.S. economy continues to add jobs, even retailers who claim to keep prices low in part by minimizing payroll expenses must increase how much they pay their workers to avoid losing them.”

    “For every extra $1 a company spends each month in payroll, it could get back anywhere from $4 to $28 in monthly sales, according to a 2007 study by professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and elsewhere.”

    SB177 spit in the face of kids and voters. Who were they representing? Are they looking at growth and prosperity for everyone in the state or just their friends? The Aberdeen Novstrup’s are the poster children for government tipping the scales for cronies vs. the public.

    Cheating anyone out of $1 an hour is just pure and evil overreach by the GOP controlled South Dakota government to keep their power base.

  3. Douglas Wiken

    “Opportunity wage”? It is an opportunity for skinflint employers to cheat younger workers.

  4. Euphemism, just like “right to work,” right, Doug?

  5. Roger Elgersma

    points one and two on amusement parks and church camps are a waste of ink. Point one says, ‘all seasonal parks and camps and point two says virtually all year round parks and camps. The only one I know of that this does not cover is a Lutheran Bible camp in Iowa at lake Okiboji that I volunteered at which operates part time in the winter. Why would they want to exclude that situation. Because they do not think about anyone but themselves and their ‘family amusement’ business.