POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Utah lawmaker wants to raise the minimum wage based on age

Feb 6, 2024, 2:00 PM

A sign reading “Now hiring” is on the window of Vessel Kitchen, utah minimum wage is at center ...

A sign reading “Now hiring” is on the window of Vessel Kitchen in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 3, 2023. (Megan Nielsen/Deseret News)

(Megan Nielsen/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A new bill seeks to boost workers’ minimum earnings based on their age.

The bill‘s sponsor, State Rep. Brett Garner, D-West Valley, told Utah’s Morning News that minors would make $10 an hour under the proposed law.

“And then it has some steps until when you reach age 23, you get paid $19 an hour,” Garner said.

The bill would also strike down a Utah rule allowing employers to pay minors less than adults.

Utah mandates a base pay of $7.25 for all workers. However, during the first 90 days of work for a minor, the current minimum pay is $4.25 per hour.

Garner said the reason for his minimum-wage strategy is based off age is to give workers more buying power as they get older.

“When you’re younger,” said Garner, “you don’t have as many expenses, and you’re getting started learning how to work in a job. But when you’re older, and when you’re starting to get to age 23 […] we want people to be independent, to be able to afford their own housing.”

The representative said his approach differs from other lawmakers, who he claims focus only on keeping home prices down.

Garner is also proposing that Utah’s Division of Labor add 25 cents to each minimum wage tier annually.

Twenty-seven other states raised their wages last year, according to Deseret News.

The last time that Utah’s legislature increased the minimum wage was in 2008 when it rose from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour.

Garner’s bill has not yet gone before a state House committee.

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Utah lawmaker wants to raise the minimum wage based on age