Oklahoma's minimum wage may be on the rise

Ozark Opinions

Oklahoma's Minimum Wage

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Oklahoma’s hourly minimum wage is $7.25 and has not increased since 2008. It adopts the federal minimum wage, and since 1983 the minimum wage has been as follows:

  • 1983 $3.35
  • 1990 $3.80
  • 1991 $4.25
  • 1996 $4.75
  • 1997 $5.15
  • 2007 $5.85
  • 2008 $6.55
  • 2009 $7.25

This minimum hourly rate applies to all Oklahoma employers who either gross $100,000 a year or hire 10 or more employees. There are certain exceptions allowing employers to pay less than the minimum to some employees, including tipped employees, minors, and certain students.

Full time employment at $7.25 an hour works out to be $15,080 a year. The national poverty level for a single-member household is $12,880 a year, and $17,420 for a family of two. In 2017, 3.1% of hourly workers in Oklahoma, or approximately 28,000 employees, were paid at or below the minimum wage. Nearly 3 out of every 4 of those employees were women.

Currently, there are two bills in the Oklahoma state Senate that propose an increase to the minimum wage. Senate bills 332 and 1232 proposed by senators Boren and Young, respectively. Both bills seek to ultimately raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, but have offered different rate raises over varying time frames to get there.

SB 1232 seeks to raise the wage to $12 an hour in 2022, with 6 annual increases of $.50 to follow. While SB 332 plans for a series of incremental increases:

  • 2022 $8.50
  • 2023 $9.75
  • 2024 $11.00
  • 2025 $13.00
  • 2026 $15.00

SB 332 also states that the minimum wage shall increase annually according to the Consumer Price Index percentage increase of the previous year, while SB 1232 makes no plans for future adjustments.

Both bills are set for their first readings in early February.

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