Ohio to increase minimum wage Jan. 1

Both tipped and non-tipped workers making minimum wage will see an increase.
Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 6:49 PM EST
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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) - Ohio workers relying on minimum wage will see an increase in pay in the New Year.

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, the minimum wage in Ohio will be $9.30 per hour for non-tipped employees and $4.65 for tipped employees of businesses with gross annual receipts of more than $342,000 per year.

That means tipped employees pay will increase 25 cents an hour and 50 cents for non-tipped employees.

For minors aged 14 and 15, and for individuals who work at companies with gross receipts below $342,000, the minimum wage will continue to be the federally established rate of $7.25 per hour.

Many small business owners say they already pay above the state’s minimum wage and since the job market is so hot, it means workplace culture is even more important than ever.

“You could pay $15 an hour and if no one enjoys working there they’re not going to stay,” said Tim Wolfe, owner of Patties & Pints. “It’s so competitive with people being stolen from other businesses and other restaurants, minimum wage hasn’t probably been irrelevant for five or six years. If you’re still building your business around minimum wage, then you’ve already lost.”

Wolfe says during the pandemic his restaurant lost about 50 percent of its employees when they switched to only to-go orders.

Now they’re building back up staff and finally back to levels they saw in 2019.

“We’re rewarding the people who stuck with us through it,” he said. “They’re like family at this point. When you go through something like that, it’s a lot more than employee and employer.”

The minimum wage debate is especially interesting in a tri-state area, where employees have plenty of options as to which side of the river they’d like to work in. Kentucky’s minimum wage remains right at the federal level of $7.25, and West Virginia has a minimum wage of $8.75.

“In Portsmouth you could come from South Shore, Kentucky, right across the bridge, and you could make $1.80 more an hour or something,” he said.

The other challenge currently facing small business owners is the increase in prices of supplies.

“We anticipate annual increases in the price of food,” he said. “We calculate and plan for that. What we couldn’t have seen was increase in back-of house items. Your prices have to go up to make up for that.”

For example a case of Ramekins, the small container that holds condiments, used to cost $19 a case. Now, they’re seeing major hikes and those same cases cost about $80 per case.

“When you’re selling burgers, there’s only so much you can sell a burger for,” Wolfe said. “I would much rather be known for No. 1 atmosphere than No. 1 burger. Anyone can sell a burger and a beer. Time to get creative on new ways to serve ketchup to a customer.”

More than 20 states across the country are set to increase their minimum wage in 2022.

Among other required posts, Ohio employers are required to post the state’s minimum wage and overtime information, available in this free poster, in a conspicuous place, such as an employee break room, HR office that can be accessed by employees, or other common space.

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