Based on a constitutional amendment in 2006, every year Ohio’s minimum wage is increased based on considerations such as cost of living. As of January 1, 2015, Ohio’s minimum wage raised to $8.10. However, this rate increase is not considered sufficient by some State Senators. All 10 members of the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus co-sponsored Senate Bill 25, titled Ohio Worker’s Rights Act, introduced on February 4, 2015, proposing reform to Ohio’s state wage and hour laws.

Specifically, Senate Bill 25 proposes to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, expand the threshold for overtime compensation for salaried employees to $50,000 in the first year and then to $69,000 for the following years, and to create a uniform definition of “employee” in Ohio laws.

For some perspective, presently, Ohio is one of 28 states in which the state minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25. In addition, Ohio’s minimum wage rate is higher than 35 other states. The surrounding states of Indiana and Pennsylvania have the same rate as the federal rate.

Presently, the definition of “employee” is different for workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation and tax purposes. Obtaining a uniform definition across all laws would certainly be useful, but would involve detangling a myriad of laws.

Due to the fact that the majority of Ohio State Senators belong to the Republican Party, it certainly is questionable whether this bill has a chance of becoming law. We will continue to monitor this Bill and if it obtains traction, we will report back on it. For now, expect that the Ohio minimum wage will raise yearly and the classifications of employees need to be evaluated for each type of law.