Michigan’s senate is expected to vote today on a measure that would lower the lowest legal pay for 18 and 19-year-olds to 85 percent of older workers’ minimum wage, which rises to $8.50 an hour on Jan. 1.
Sixteen and 17-year-olds in the state can already be paid at the lower rate. The bill would extend the exception to older teens.
The measure addresses the restaurant industry’s argument that workers at that age are often learning fundamental job skills, a process that can cut their effectiveness and tax the employer’s time. The industry has pressed in the past for a federal “training wage” to reflect the situation.
Michigan has a training wage of $4.50, payable for the first 90 days of a new hire’s employment. The rate rises to $6.25 in January.