COLUMBUS – Today, state Senators Cecil Thomas (D-Avondale) and Hearcel F. Craig (D-Columbus) announced that they will soon introduce legislation to incrementally raise Ohio’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.
“Far too many Ohioans work multiple jobs and still can’t afford to pay for food, bills and health care,” said Thomas. “That’s shameful, but it’s also something the General Assembly can fix by passing this legislation. We need to make sure workers in Ohio are adequately paid so they can take care of their families.”
The current minimum wage in Ohio is $8.80 per hour. This legislation would increase it to $10.00 per hour starting in January 2022 and then make yearly increases of $1.00 per hour until 2027, when it would reach $15 per hour. After that, the minimum wage would increase every year to keep pace with inflation, as required by the Ohio constitution.
By incrementally raising Ohio’s minimum wage, this legislation would also raise the wages of employees who receive tips. Under Ohio law, employers of tipped employees can pay their employees as little as half the state’s minimum wage rate – $4.40 per hour in 2021 – if they can demonstrate that the employees earn enough in tips to bring their total hourly wage up to at least the state minimum.
“Raising Ohio’s minimum wage will increase productivity and stimulate consumer spending,” Craig said. “It is very simple: if Ohioans have more money, they will be more likely to spend it. Increasing our state’s minimum wage is not just the right thing to do, it is also a smart investment in our economy.”
According to Policy Matters Ohio, the 2020 minimum wage left a full-time worker (40 hours per week) in Ohio about $3,600 below the federal poverty line if they are supporting a family of three. Another report states that if Ohio raises the minimum wage to $15 by 2023, 37% of the state’s wage-earning workforce would experience a wage lift, resulting in an earnings boost of nearly $4,300 for the average directly affected worker.
Washington, D.C. is currently the only place in the U.S. with a $15 minimum wage. In 2020, voters in Florida passed a ballot initiative to incrementally raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 by September 2026. In contrast, the Ohio General Assembly in 2016 prohibited local municipalities from imposing minimum wages higher than the statewide minimum wage.
Representative Bridget Kelly (D-Cincinnati) has introduced companion legislation in the Ohio House.
“We can’t afford to stay stuck in the past with poverty-wage jobs that don’t let Ohioans live up to their full potential. Ohio’s minimum wage needs an overhaul to meet the demands of today’s new economy,” said Rep. Kelly.