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Bill raising minimum wage advances

On January 27, SB 7 (Saslaw) advanced from the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on a 12-3 vote. This bill would incrementally raise the minimum wage from the current federally mandated rate of $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour for eligible employees by July 1, 2025. The bill specifically includes state and local governments, as well as home care providers.

SB 7 is part of a multiyear effort to raise minimum wages for Virginia employees. SB 73 (Locke), SB 81 (Marsden), and SB 816 (Morrissey) were incorporated into SB 7. The first incremental increase would take effect on July 1, 2020, at the rate of $9.75 per hour.

The committee voted to amend the original bill on several points. Starting on July 1, 2023, if an employer offers health benefits to an employee, the minimum wage for that position shall remain at $11.75 per hour. A training wage not less than 75 percent of the minimum wage may be paid to an employee in a training program for the first 320 hours of employment with other conditions. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) is also tasked in the bill with evaluating the potential impact or consequences of instituting a regional minimum wage in the Commonwealth and report to the General Assembly and Governor no later than the first day of the 2021 General Assembly.

SB 7 was reported and referred to Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee. Similar compensation legislation will likely be heard in the House Labor and Commerce Committee on January 30. VACo will continue to monitor and report on minimum wage bills as they advance through the General Assembly.

VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett

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