San Antonio Employment Law Blog

Should large employers be required to pay higher wages?

While several states have recently raised minimum wages, and there has also been discussion of increasing the federal minimum wage, wage law has not changed in Texas. As it stands, the minimum wage in Texas is tied to the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour for just about all workers, except those who receive tips.

In many parts of the country, lawmakers are calling to increase the minimum wage. In Washington, D.C., the city has moved to force a higher minimum wage that would apply only to certain employers–which has upset many people in the business community. But, is it fair to ask large employers to pay workers more than small employers?

If passed into law in D.C., large retailers–such as Wal-Mart and Macy’s–would be forced to pay workers at least $12.50 an hour, according to a report published in the San Antonio Express-News. The minimum wage that applies to other employers in the district is only $8.25.

The increase would apply to retail companies that net at least $1 billion in corporate revenue annually and have stores of at least 75,000 square feet. The logic is that larger retailers can afford pay hikes moreso than smaller employers, and higher wages will help the economy.

However, Wal-Mart has sad that if the law comes to fruition, it will cancel its plan to build three stores in some of the city’s poor neighborhoods.

This law would be the first in the country to target certain employers for higher minimum wages than others. However, a number of cities and counties do require buinesses that have government contracts to pay employees a higher rate than the state or federal minimum wage.

If D.C. does pass this measure, it could set a precedent for other cities to do the same.

Here in Texas, as it currently stands, non-exempt workers must be paid at least $7.25 an hour, with time and one-half their regular rate of pay for any overtime hours. Employers who fail to pay minimum wage, overtime wages or abide by employment contracts can be held accountable under wage and hours law.

Source: Associated Press, “Wal-Mart faceoff with DC fuels minimum wage debate,” Sam Hananel, July 15, 2013

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