COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — When the new year rang in Sunday morning, a fraction of Ohioans saw an automatic boost in wages soon-to-be owed, as the hourly legal minimum increased from $9.30 to $10.10 for non-tipped workers and from $4.65 to $5.05 for tipped workers.
Ohio’s minimum hourly wage has been tied to inflation since November 2006, when voters ratified a constitutional amendment mandating that it rise annually with inflation. The legal minimum is scheduled to adjust on Jan. 1 of each year — this year for businesses with annual gross revenue of $372,000 or more — according to the Ohio Department of Commerce.
In 2023, for non-tipped workers, it clocks in at $0.80 more than the year prior — the largest change on record, according to political research organization Policy Matters Ohio.
“While those new pay scales won’t push up workers’ buying power, they serve as a vital safeguard against inflation, which hit a 40-year high this year,” researcher Michael Shields said in a December statement.
But Don DePerro, Columbus Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer, said that while the increase will touch a few industries in particular — including hospitality, home health care, fast food and convenience, and janitorial — he doubts most workers in central Ohio were making less than the old or new minimum.
“I don’t know who is paying $10.10, but I would venture to guess that there are not many,” DePerro said in an interview. “This honestly should not have a major, major impact.”
The pandemic, and a resulting labor shortage, first left businesses across the country scrambling to secure workers in 2021, and DePerro said that hasn’t really ceased. “They’re falling all over themselves trying to find people,” he said.
Market factors have driven companies that can afford it to offer higher wages — and that pressure to pay more per hour has moved faster than any increase required by state law, DePerro said.
“We’re in one of those times when it’s a worker’s market,” he said.
Still, DePerro said the Jan. 1 boost stands to benefit part-time workers, including high school students, the most.
The Ohio Department of Taxation has not analyzed how the latest minimum wage increase will affect the amount of taxes the state or local governments will be able to collect, according to Communications Director Gary Gudmundson. He said a rough estimate shows sales tax revenue increasing by around $25 million per year, contributing to the more than $12 billion total in revenue per year.