Minimum Wage Ordinance FAQ
Sept. 17, 2015 Update:
What is the current status of Kansas City’s Minimum Wage Initiative?
The City of Kansas City is working with election authorities to remove the $15 per hour minimum wage initiative measure from the November ballot. Soon, the City Council will hear an ordinance to repeal the existing $13 per hour minimum wage ordinance. This ordinance has not yet gone into effect due to a referendum.
At this time, Kansas City’s minimum wage employees will need to address potential wage increases with their employers and the Missouri General Assembly, or through a statewide initiative petition.
The Kansas City, Mo. City Council recently passed an ordinance mandating a new minimum wage. The ordinance requires that, beginning on Aug. 24, Kansas City employers with more than 15 employees must pay workers $8.50 per hour. This is the first step in establishing a $13.00 per hour minimum wage by January 1, 2020.
Q: A notice of referendum has been submitted to the City, but what does that mean?
A: The City Charter allows people to postpone the effective date of some ordinances by collecting the signatures of at least 3,417 registered Kansas City voters demanding a vote on the ordinance passed by the City Council and approved by the Mayor. A notice of referendum has been filed by a Committee of Petitioners; this prevents the ordinance from going into effect. The ordinance is not yet law. The Committee of Petitioners will have until August 25, 2015, to submit the required signatures. If 3,417 valid signatures are submitted to the City Clerk and verified by the election authorities, the minimum wage ordinance will not go into effect unless the City Council places the ordinance before the voters for an election.
Q: What if the Committee of Petitioners does not submit a valid number of signatures?
A: Should the Committee of Petitioners be unsuccessful collecting the proper number of valid signatures, it is granted another 10 days to supply the remaining signatures.
Q: What if the Committee of Petitioners still does not have enough signatures to require an election on the ordinance?
A: The ordinance will become law immediately upon certification by the City Clerk of the Committee’s failure to submit a sufficient petition and supplementary petition.
Because we do not now know when the ordinance will go into effect, the following questions and answers are provided to help you understand the ordinance’s terms.
Q: Does my company need to increase worker’s salaries?
A: Employers subject to the ordinance with a location in Kansas City must pay its employees working in Kansas City the new minimum wage. Businesses should not use zip codes to determine compliance requirements, because zip codes may cross city boundaries.
Q: Are there exceptions to the minimum wage ordinance?
A: The ordinance does not apply to persons 17 years of age and younger, government employees (except employees of Kansas City, Missouri), apprentices, workers in certain volunteer or charitable occupations, and interns working for academic credit.
Q: I have a small business, do I need to pay the City minimum wage since it is higher than the Missouri minimum wage?
A: The ordinance defines a small business as one with more than 15 employees. A business with two sites, one in Kansas City and one outside of Kansas City, with more than 15 employees total, must pay the employees working at the Kansas City site the City’s minimum wage.
Q: What about employees who earn tips as part of their wage?
A: Employers whose workers receive tips as part of their compensation are required to pay no less than 50 percent of the minimum wage established by Missouri law.
Q: Who will enforce this ordinance?
A: The ordinance assigns the duty of enforcement to the City’s Human Relations Department.
Q: How can I read and review the entire ordinance?
A: The complete ordinance is available on the City Clerk’s site.