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What Arizona’s next minimum wage increase means for workers

Posted on December 28, 2018

On Jan. 1, 2019, the third of four steps approved by voters to raise Arizona’s minimum wage will begin. In 2016, Arizonans approved a plan to incrementally raise the minimum wage so that in 2020 it will be $12 per hour. In 2019, it will be $11.00 — up from the current minimum of $10.50.

Employees who earn part of their income from tips are too often shortchanged when it comes to minimum wage laws. However, Arizona employees who earn at least $3.00 in tips per hour must be paid an hourly minimum wage of $8.00 beginning in the new year.

Minimum wage employees are the backbone of the hospitality and leisure industries, which are crucial to Arizona’s economy. Scottsdale alone had close to 9 million visitors in 2016.

Those visitors spend a considerable amount of money at our hotels, amusement parks, restaurants and bars, and those businesses need workers. While employment in Arizona’s private sector rose by 3.6 percent last year overall, the number of jobs in restaurants and bars rose by 5.6 percent.

Economists say that minimum wage increases also benefit employees who already earn more than the minimum. One economist at the University of Arizona points out, “Overall wage growth accelerated last year, as you might expect with a minimum wage increase.”

Most business owners follow the law and pay their employees in accordance with minimum wage and other wage laws. Unfortunately, however, that’s not always the case. If you believe that you are not receiving the wages you’ve earned, it may be wise to seek experienced legal guidance to find out what your options are.