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On January 27, a campaign to amend the Ohio Constitution and raise Ohio’s minimum wage – led by Ohioans for Raising the Wage – took an important step forward when Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost certified that the campaign’s summary of its proposed constitutional amendment was “fair and truthful.” To summarize, the proposed amendment would:
- Increase the state minimum wage rate from $8.70 per hour to $9.60 per hour on January 1, 2021
- Increase the state minimum wage rate in equal increments annually for four years to reach $13.00 per hour on January 1, 2025
- Annually adjust the state minimum wage rate for inflation after January 1, 2025, consistent with existing constitutional language
- Increase the state minimum wage rate to match the federal minimum wage rate if the federal minimum wage rate is higher than the state minimum wage rate at any time
The Ohio Attorney General’s certification is important because it moves the proposed amendment one step closer to being voted on by Ohioans in November of this year. The proposed amendment still, however, needs the Ballot Board’s approval and 442,958 valid signatures before July 1, 2020 in order to be placed on the November ballot.
Even though the steps above must be completed before this proposed amendment is put to a vote, employers should continue to monitor its progress as the impact of such minimum wage rate increase would be substantial – equaling almost a 50% increase to the minimum wage rate over the next five years.