On Friday, June 30, 2017, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens announced that he would take no action with respect to HB 1194, which had been passed by the Missouri General Assembly and delivered to him in May. Broadly speaking, HB 1194 was viewed as nullifying St. Louis’s minimum wage ordinance which had set a minimum wage of $10.00 per hour (escalating to $11.00 per hour, effective January 1, 2018). Under Missouri law, the governor had three choices: (1) sign the bill; (2) veto the bill; or (3) allow it to become law without his signature. The governor chose the third option, with the result that HB 1194 will become law, effective August 28, 2017. This action (or inaction) has at least three significant impacts upon Missouri employers.
First, and most immediately, the St. Louis’s minimum wage ordinance is nullified, effective August 28, 2017. Previously, effective May 5, 2017, most St. Louis employers had been required to pay a minimum wage of $10.00 per hour. The ordinance is now nullified with respect to private sector employers. (A provision of HB 1194 allows public employers to set a minimum wage for their own employees.) Private sector employers doing business in the city of St. Louis may, therefore, effective August 28, 2017, roll wages back to their pre-May 5, 2017 levels. Employers that do so must give affected employees at least 30 days’ notice (preferably in writing) of such rollback.
Second, HB 1194 applies throughout the state of Missouri and prohibits every political subdivision from enacting a minimum wage rate for private sector workplaces which exceeds the minimum wage rate set by the state (currently $7.70 per hour).
Finally, HB 1194 prohibits every Missouri political subdivision from enacting a menu of employment benefits for private sector workplaces that exceed “state laws, rules, or regulations.”