Poverty and Public Health
Tue July 2, 2013
Bernalillo County Minimum Wage Increases
Minimum wage workers in unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County got a raise on July 1st.
The new county wage law that was passed in April raises the minimum wage from $7.50 and hour to $8.00 an hour for businesses outside Albuquerque city limits. Commissioner Art De La Cruz, a democrat who represents parts of the west side and the south valley was the bill’s sponsor. He says its not a living wage, but that it will help the low paid workers and their communities.
“Not only will it help the lives of the individuals that are working at this wage, but it will help the entire economy because these dollars aren’t saved, they’re put right back into the economy for a variety of services and needs,” De La Cruz said.
The ordinance applies to about 1,900 businesses and several thousand workers. These workers can expect another 50-cent an hour raise when the second phase of the law kicks in in January, at which time the county’s minimum wage will match Albuquerque’s at $8.50 an hour.
Beginning in 2015, the commission will increase the wage each year, based on a cost of living formula. Government workers and restaurant employees who earn tips are exempt from the minimum wage requirements, except when restaurant workers’ tips don’t equal $8.50 an hour. Then employers will have to make up the difference.