Vermont Hikes Minimum Wage to $10.50 an Hour by 2018
Randy George, co-owner with his wife of Red Hen Bakery and Café, hosted a bill-signing ceremony for a measure that mandates increases in the state's minimum wage every January for the next four years to achieve a wage of $10.50 an hour by 2018.
Good start, George said of the bill, but "our goal is to get to a livable wage."
George, who already pays $10.50 an hour to bakery employees without prior experience, called the current federal and state wage levels — $7.25 and $8.73 — "far too low."
"These are foolish numbers," he said. "To grow as a business, you can't do that by exploiting your own people." He challenged his business colleagues across the state to pay above the minimum.
Some lawmakers had hoped they could raise the state's minimum wage level faster than the new law does.
The House passed a bill that would have raised the wage to $10.10 next January, but Gov. Peter Shumlin and the Senate preferred a slower, phased-in increase to reduce the impact on employers. In the final days of the legislative session, the bill with the four-step plan was the measure that won Democratic, Progressive and Republican support.