Beshear raises wages of state workers through executive order

Governor Steve Beshear signed an executive order Monday to raise the wages of every person working for the executive branch of state government to at least $10.10 per hour, except for tipped employees whose wages will be more than doubled to $4.90 per hour. Also, employees currently making slightly above $10.10 an hour will also have their wages slightly increased. This policy will go into effect July 1.

Beshear announced the executive order in press conferences in both Lexington and Louisville Monday, where he explained that the policy is meant to help the state’s lowest-paid workers and will affect nearly 800 state employees.

According to the Beshear administration, raising these wages of state employees will cost around $1.6 million, $800,000 of which will come out of the state’s General Fund. The current minimum wage in the state is set at $7.25 an hour.

The executive order also requires that private companies with service contracts with state government pay a minimum wage of at least $10.10 an hour to those of their employees who perform work on or in connection with those government contracts.

There was no mention at the news conference or in the official press release about the impact on the state budget of increasing the wages of contract employees.

A bill to mandate a higher statewide minimum wage increase has failed in the past two sessions of the General Assembly.

Beshear used his press announcements to encourage private companies to raise their entry wages to at least $10.10 per hour. While the vast majority of Kentucky Chamber members already pay above the minimum wage, the Chamber supports the ability for each employer to decide what wages they should pay to remain competitive, and to recruit and preserve the jobs they’ve created.

To read a press release from the governor’s office on the policy, click here.

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