LOUISVILLE, KY -- Kentucky's minimum wage increases to $6.55 an hour Tuesday, and state officials say the change will give a pay boost to an estimated 68,000 of the state's lowest-paid workers, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal in its Sunday edition.
The new rate, an increase of nearly 12 percent, will mean a bigger paycheck for seasonal employees, workers at fast-food restaurants, day-care centers and shopping malls, reports the C-J.
Even those making a little more than the current minimum could benefit as local business owners aim to stay competitive and inch pay higher. But the modest pay bumps probably won't do much for families scraping by at the low end of the wage scale, economists and advocates for the working poor told the newspaper.
Jennifer Belew of Shively earns $7.75 an hour at a catering company. The 23-year-old single mother spends five hours a day riding buses around town, dropping her two children at day care and getting to and from work. Extra money would help offset a Transit Authority of River City fare increase, which also takes effect Tuesday, the newspaper reports.
"That's just catching up with everything else," Belew said of the new minimum wage. "Everything's going up."
Although some employees will see a small benefit from the higher rate, James Ziliak, director of the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research in Lexington, predicted that most struggling workers won't be lifted out of poverty, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal.
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