CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed the minimum wage increase into law Tuesday night while also asking state lawmakers to change the bill before it takes effect June 8.

Tomblin said HB 4283 makes the right move by increasing the hourly minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75 by 2016, but he contends it includes “unintended consequences” regarding overtime exemptions.

What we’ve always operated under are the federal exemptions for seasonal employees, for hospitals, for nursing homes and there’s a problem there,” Tomblin told reporters at the state capitol earlier Tuesday. “There’s a lot of problems with our (municipal) fire departments and police departments. It’s going to cost the cities hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

The overtime language in the new law trumps the federal exemptions, though the governor doesn’t expect those to last long. In a statement released Tuesday night, Tomblin pledged:

I will call the Legislature into extraordinary session during the May interims, beginning May 19, 2014, to address the issues of great concern to businesses large and small—including the fiscal challenges expected to affect our local governments.  President Kessler and Speaker Miley have both committed to working with me to achieve this ultimate goal.”

Sen. President Jeff Kessler, who praised the governor for signing the bill, said changes can be made by lawmakers before the June 8 effective date.

“Signing this piece of legislation is not only the right thing to do for the state’s workers; it will also help the state’s economy.  This bill puts more money in the pockets of hard working West Virginians, who in turn spend their money locally.  This is a very positive measure for our state,” Kessler said.

House of Delegates Speaker Tim Miley said the House would work with the governor on his concerns.

The House of Delegates stands willing to continue working with Governor Tomblin and the Senate to ensure that the increased minimum wage has no adverse impact on the overtime laws that employers in the state are accustomed to following.”  

The House and Senate originally did not agree on the legislation. The Senate wanted the $1.50 increase spread over three years instead of two, but the House got its way on the last night on the regular session. Tomblin also said he preferred the three-year plan.

The minimum wage increase is expected to impact more than 100,000 state residents.

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  • Chris

    This a joke our government is a joke this little min wage hike helps no one it should be at least 10.00 an hour prices on everything will go up they can shove it.

  • Fred

    The history of the increase in the minimum wage reflects that in the short run there are in fact reductions in the number of employees and in overtime... However in strong economies that is overcome within a year or so. In 1938 the first wage was set at .25 After WW II it was increased to .40 ( from .30 in '39 ) By 1974 it went to $2.00 and the economy increased substantially over the next few years... In the boom years it increased a dime or .30 every year or two for the next seven years... Then in 1981 it went up from $ 3.35 to $3.80 and again to $4.25 in 1991 with a significant drop in the economy.There were no increase from 1991 until 2007 which showed the boom years and the best economy in memory. Then when a sharp increase occurred in 2007 it increased from$4.25 to $7.25 in 2009 ( with an increase to$5.85 in 07 and to $6.55 in 2008 ) Of course we all know what happened in 2009 when the economy took a dive has not come back... So substantial increases in the minimum wage can in fact have a significant effect on the economy...

  • Nobody

    Roughly a 20% pay raise for unskilled labor isn't too shabby.

  • tithe

    How does one really think that Mary Barra (CEO GM) could possibly live off of a $14,000,000.00 salary.

    • Aaron

      Last year Barra earned $907,585 in salary and bonuses. Once stock options were cashed in, her compensation was a little more than $5 million, which is excessive particularly given the bailout situation.

  • wvman75

    I think raising the minimum wage is a bad idea right now, but if they're going to do so, then change the overtime laws as well. People such as convenient store managers and others in the private sector should be fully compensated for the hours they work. An exception could be made for public safety/government workers like police and firefighters.

  • JD

    As a state worker I will receive a measly $500.00 raise after waiting (3) years. This hike in minimum wage is $2,350.00 more a year than I will receive. Wow, just wow.

  • Butch

    Good job Governor! Minimum wage should have been raise a while ago.

  • hailey

    This decsion could be the poorest ever made by the WV legislators, who does the Govenor think will pay for these increases?... All working WV residents, congrats now Subway will have to do new commercial just for WV, "$7 dollars footloooongs".

    Big mistake that will continue to set WV back, very dissappointing but not suprising.

    • Aaron

      How so given that 21 states currently have minimum wage laws where wages are actually higher than the federal minimum wage?

      The thing is, this bill is nothing more than pandering to give delegates something to run on this year as the federal minimum wage will likely go up as much, if not more.

      • wvman75

        You can't compare West Virginia to those other states. It's comparing apples and oranges. Especially since the war on coal has decimated our primary revenue producing industry.

      • Staci

        Aaron I have to agree with you.

  • ViennaGuy

    "There's never enough time to do it right, but there's always enough time to do over." - Jack Bergman

    And yet these people keep getting re-elected. It's past time for term limits.

    • Aaron

      What if this is the cream of the crop?

  • I'm honest at least

    I'm calling BS if Earl Ray honestly had a care in the world about working class we would not have state employees getting food stamps.

    • Aaron

      The overall compensation of public employees is actually better than comparable private employees in Weat Virginia.

      • I'm honest at least

        I'll be happy to explain this real nice and simple for those of you that don't understand who I speak of. As in cooks, janitors, nurses, nurses aides, and any other real working class state employees that are not making a decent wage. Numbers look a lot better as a whole but these people deserve more.

        • Aaron

          I stand behind my statement.

    • Joe Schmoe

      So you want every state worker to make 30.00 an hour.

  • Tim C

    West Virginians had a chance to stop crap like this and still voted democrats in anyway. much do they take out of your pocket before you get wise and stop this insanity. I'm a native West Virginian and was raised in a pro union Democratic Party loving environment and had enough brains to stop voting for them back in 1980. Wake up stupid people! Get ready to pay higher prices as a result of this bill.

  • Mike

    So ERT passes a pat raise bill,but vetoes a bill that would protect the unborn. What a man. Hope he sleeps well. I guess the unborn cant vote.

    • Michael

      Can't agree more Mike. I was thinking the same thing. Horrible decision making on ERT's part!!

    • JS

      First, what do each of those issues have to do with each other? Second, we scream about paying welfare to the low income, but don't want to pay them more when they actually work??? Third, conservatives jump up and down and scream when government interferes in their personal lives, but you want to tell women what they can and can't do with their bodies???? MAKE UP YOUR MIND!!!

      • Mike

        . We pay those on welfare way to much in most cases.When you are to damn lazy to work and sit home on your ass all day,then you are paid to much. Most of these people don't want to work.Wefare has become a way of life. Grandpa,Mom and Dad have never worked so the kids expect the government to provide for them. Seems like they have money for beer,drugs and body art. Go to any store late at night. You will see them there. Dressed in there PJs,kids in carts that should be home in bed. They all have a pop and a bag of chips eating away. All this time they are spending my money on junk food for the week.Thats what is wrong!!

  • joyce w

    I work for a non-profit that is going to take a hit through cuts in grants-in-aid from the state over the next few years. Our board has already decided that if the state minimum wage is increased they will not replace part-time workers (college students, retired people making some extra cash). With that said, us full-time supervisors will now have to work more hours to make up for the lost help and no, we do not get paid by the hour nor are we entitled to overtime. In other words, more hours, same pay, de facto pay cut. Oh, and trust me, we make less than a starting school teacher. Thank you, Gov Tomblin, for thinking this one through. I will definitely remember this at election time if I actually get more than 15 min off in a day to go vote.

    • Aaron

      I think if I were you I was look into the law. Choosing employees from overtime pay, certain exceptions must be met. One of the rules that I can ascertain from the Department of Labor, Wage and Hour division is that unless are in supervisory positions overseeing full-time employees your status cannot base salary exempt meaning you qualify for overtime.

      This is one of the most widely abused sections of the wage and hour laws and should be monitored more closely but employees don't complain because they don't want to lose their job. If more than one person is being treated in this manner contacted Department of Labor anonymously and have them look into it.

  • Don Monroe

    its about time Earl Ray does something right

  • Sam

    Thanks Earl Ray. DOC employees are now closer than ever to working for minimum wage