WAGES: Alice earns $7.25

The article Sunday, “Alice in Trumpland,” missed saying anything about Idaho’s minimum wages. It would seem that this should have been part of the article as I’m sure that many or at least some of our working poor fall under Idaho’s varying minimum wages.

Current Idaho state minimum wage is $7.25 an hour — the same as the federal. The minimum wage for a tipped employee is $3.35 an hour. A training minimum wage of $4.25 an hour can be paid to an employee under 20 for the first 90 calendar days of employment. Idaho law allows employers to claim a tip credit of $3.90 an hour, which added to the $3.35 makes the $7.25. If the employee’s hourly wage plus tips earned do not add up to $7.25 the employer must make up the difference. I’m sure that everyone — employer and employee is totally honest in their reporting! How much bookkeeping and trust must go into this method of paying wages. Washington minimum wage for 2017 is $11 an hour and will increase in 2018 and in 2019 will be $12 an hour.

Although some states, Idaho for example, allow employers to pay tipped employees a lower minimum wage, Washington does not. Montana’s minimum 2017 wage is $8.15 an hour, however the minimum wage is to be the greater of the federal or current state minimum wage. No tip credit, meal credit or training wage is allowed under Montana’s wage and hour laws. What the heck is wrong with Idaho? Maybe we wouldn’t have so many so-called “Alice” employees if the wages were all at least minimum not including tips!

So much has been written about teacher and law enforcement wages, but somehow the service employees have been totally ignored — and this is a tourist area where we have visitors who come here to spend money and enjoy all that Idaho has to offer? I think our legislators had better take a good look at Idaho’s wage laws! By the way, I am a conservative and have been a small business owner so I’m not a bleeding heart liberal, but Idaho is sorely lacking in fair wages.



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