State lawmakers failed to act. Now cities are having to adjust to a minimum wage law with no exemption for public safety workers.
The state’s largest fire district, the Monarch Fire District in St. Louis County, has announced it is cutting salaries. Others are adjusting schedules in an effort to avoid huge overtime bills. The new minimum wage law approved by voters in November makes no provision for firefighters and others who routinely work long shifts. City officials say that oversight will cost them dearly unless they adjust.
Missouri Municipal League Deputy Director Richard Sheets says since the legislature failed to address the issue, cities must act. Sheets says cities cannot wait for the legislature to return to the issue next year. And he says cities will begin incurring liability once workers file for overtime pay. Sheets says many cities are adjusting schedules to keep the problem from affecting their budgets.
Sheets says the fix failed in the legislature when others interested in changing aspects of the law tried to piggy-back on the issue.