The Kansas minimum wage of $2.65 per hour applies to workers in job categories not protected by the Federal minimum wage ($5.85). The study documents this under -examined category of workers at the lowest end of the wage spectrum. To help determine how minimum wage increases would affect Kansas businesses and local economies, the study draws on evidence from states and cities that have raised their minimum wages above the Federal level.
Among the findings of the report are:
- Kansas has the lowest minimum wage in the nation. The Kansas law has no effect on workers covered by the federal law, but covers certain employees exempt from the federal law. These include childcare workers, companions to the elderly or infirm, and employees of private firms grossing less than $500,000/year and not engaged in interstate commerce.
- A total of 17,000 Kansas workers received less than the $5.15 minimum wage in 2006. Researchers note that this figure will have risen as a result of the recent Federal minimum wage increase. There are an unknown number of workers not covered by federal law who received between $5.15 and $5.85 an hour.
- A minimum wage increase would have no substantial long-term effects on output, employment or profits. Short-run adjustments in prices, made by businesses reliant on low-wage workers, are likely to be much too small to have significant impacts on the overall price levels, and will not cause an ongoing inflationary spiral. The long-term benefits of greater consumer purchasing power, higher sales tax revenue, less turnover and absenteeism, a more productive workforce and a higher overall cash flow in the local economy are likely to compensate for a modest wage increase among the lowest paid workers in the Kansas economy.
Download the report http://www.raisethewagekansas.org/wichita/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/report-12-3-07-kan.pdf