A proposed Michigan law that seeks to lower the minimum wage for workers under 20, has passed committee and will be up for a vote in the Senate.
The current Michigan minimum wage is $8.15, and the proposed bill would allow employers to pay adults under 20 either 85 percent of that, or the current federal minimum wage, whichever is higher.
Currently the same applies for all workers under 18, and the new law would extend this.
It passed the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday, 4-1, with the sole Democrat State Senator Curtis Hertel voting against it.
State Senator Margaret O’Brien is the sponsor of the bill, and thinks it would help incentive businesses to hire younger workers looking for experience, that they otherwise wouldn’t hire.
“There’s very few employers who will hire a 15, 16 or 17-year-old,” O’Brien said to MLive.com, adding,”Most of the employers I’ve talked to in my community do not have a youth training wage but they feel having a youth minimum wage will resolve their issues.”
The new law seeks to reform the current youth training wage in Michigan, which allows employers to pay people under 20 $4.25 and hour for their first 90 days of work. This proposed bill would raise that training wage to $6.25 an hour.
While O’Brien has support of several businesses organizations such as the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, there are opponents.
Tim Hughes, Legislative Coordinator of the United Auto Workers, testified against the bill saying, “I don’t see any reason for telling somebody who can serve their country in the military or vote that they should be paid 90 cents less.”