Idaho’s minimum wage, currently $6.55 per hour, will rise to $7.25 per hour on July 24, as part of a three-step increase in the federal minimum wage approved by Congress in 2007. Idaho ties its minimum wage to the federal one, rather than setting its own; many of the surrounding states, including Washington, have much higher minimum wages.
Idaho Department of Labor spokesman Bob Fick said the three-year boost “has combined with the dampening effect of the national recession to actually give minimum wage workers a boost in buying power for the first time in over a decade.” Before the start of the three years of increases, Idaho’s minimum wage - since 1997 - had been $5.15 an hour. Today, that’s equal to $7.05 per hour - so the July increase will actually increase minimum-wage workers’ buying power above where it stood in 1997. About 40,000 Idaho workers will be affected by the July 24 pay hike, twice as many as were affected by the two earlier ones, to $5.85 in 2007 and to $6.55 in 2008.
Said Fick, “Communities along the Oregon and Washington borders are likely to feel the impact of this month’s wage increase the least, since Oregon’s minimum wage is $8.40 an hour and Washington’s is $8.55.” Nevada, with a minimum wage of $6.85 an hour, and Montana, at $6.90, will be affected by the increase, as will Utah, which, like Idaho, matches the federal minimum. Idaho sets a lower minimum for tipped employees, at $3.35 an hour, though employers must make up the difference if tips don’t bring those workers up to the minimum.