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Minnesota Supreme Court rules Minneapolis can keep its $15 minimum wage

State law doesn't preclude municipalities setting their own minimum wage.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey declared the "battle over our minimum wage ordinance is over" after the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in the city's favor.

The city had been subject of a lawsuit by industrial fluid company Graco USA, which had argued that the city's move to a $15-an-hour minimum wage would prove to onerous for companies that have to comply with different compensation standards inside and outside the city.

But the Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday affirmed rulings made by a Minnesota District Court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals that the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (MFLSA) does not preclude individual cities from setting minimum wages higher than the current state minimum – which is $10-an-hour for large employers.

'The district court reasoned that the MFLSA sets a floor, not a ceiling, for minimum-wage rates, thus leaving room for municipal regulation," the Supreme Court opinion reads.

"Because employers will comply with the MFLSA when they comply with the City’s ordinance, and because the Legislature provided no indication that it intended to occupy the field of minimum-wage rates, we conclude that the MFLSA does not preempt the ordinance," it adds.

In a tweet, Mayor Frey said: "Today’s ruling affirms the right to a living wage for thousands of workers and cements Minneapolis’ status as a city willing to fight for inclusive economic policies."

The ruling brings an end to three years of challenge to Minneapolis' minimum wage. 

It is currently at $12.25-per-hour for large employers, reaching $15 on July 1, 2022, with small employers following two years later.

St. Paul has enacted its own $15 minimum wage ordinance, albeit it reaches $15 later than in Minneapolis.

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