Minimum-wage workers in Ohio set to get raise.
Minimum-wage workers in Ohio set to get raise. Credit: Income by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Pix4free

Ohio’s minimum wage goes to $10.10 an hour Jan. 1, an 80 cents-per-hour increase, which is the largest raise for low-wage workers in more than 15 years.

The tipped minimum wage, paid to workers such as restaurant servers, will increase to $5.05 per hour, from the current $4.65. Employers are required to make up the difference if workers’ wages and tips don’t equal an hourly rate of $10.10.

This is the largest CPI-adjusted increase of [the] minimum wage since the process was defined by the constitutional amendment passed in 2006.

Mikaela Hunt, chief communications officer, Ohio Department of Commerce

Low-wage workers are getting a raise because voters approved a state constitutional amendment in 2006 that ties minimum-wage increases to inflation. The state uses the Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners and clerical workers. It is based on what consumers pay for a selection of goods and services, including food and gas. The 80-cent increase reflects how this CPI increased by 8.7 percent between Sept. 1, 2021, and Aug. 31, 2022, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce.

“This is the largest CPI-adjusted increase of [the] minimum wage since the process was defined by the constitutional amendment passed in 2006,” wrote Mikaela Hunt, chief communications officer for the commerce department.

Michael Shields, a researcher at Policy Matters Ohio, a Cleveland-based think tank that studies the minimum wage, said that indexing increases to inflation “was a smart policy that voters passed.”

“I’m always careful to point out that it doesn’t push people’s wages up in terms of their buying power,” he said. “This is more of a safeguard. It’s not what economists would call a real raise above the level of inflation. It’s basically a scaler. It just keeps the lowest-paid Ohioans at the same level as the rising prices.“

The Commerce Department said that some low-wage workers are not eligible for the increase. They include employees at companies with annual gross receipts under $371,000 a year and for 14- and 15-year-olds. The minimum wage for these workers is based on the federal minimum wage, which has been $7.25 since 2009.

Workers whose employers are paying them less than minimum wage can file a minimum-wage complaint with the Commerce Department’s Wage & Hour Division in an effort to recoup their lost wages.

Policy Matters had the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, analyze how the latest minimum wage increase in Ohio would impact low-wage workers. 

The analysis estimates that:

  • 188,300 Ohioans now paid less than $10.10 will see an increase
  •  278,000 workers currently paid a little more than the new minimum will likely get a raise  as employers adjust pay scales. 
  • Two-thirds of workers benefiting from the minimum wage increase are over 20.

Economics Reporter (she/her)
Olivera, an award-winning journalist, covered labor, employment and workforce issues for several years at The Plain Dealer. She broke the story in 2013 of a food drive held for Walmart workers who made too little to afford Thanksgiving dinner. Olivera has received state and national awards for her coverage, including those from the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW). She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Olivera believes the sweet spot of high-impact journalism is combining strong storytelling with data analysis.