NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – On Jan. 1, 2023, minimum wage workers got a pay raise in 23 states, including Ohio.
The minimum wage rose from $4.65 to $5.05 an hour for tipped employees and $9.30 to $10.10 an hour for non-tipped employees.
The latter’s 80-cent hike is the largest yearly increase since Ohio started the practice 16 years ago, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
“We have less than 10 employees and we’re just trying to make it through,” said Tom Vaughn, owner of ICG Hobbies and Games in Niles.
Vaughn says he’s been watching the minimum wage increase closely. Though he already pays his full-time employees $12 an hour, above the minimum, it could impact what he does in the future.
“Maybe starting them off at a higher wage than $12, just to compete with that,” Vaughn said.
He eventually wants to be able to pay his employees $15 an hour but says the last few years have been rocky for small businesses, making planning for the future scary.
“If we have a bad month, you’re like, ‘Well, you know, you still got to pay the employees,'” Vaughn said.
Vaughn says despite the pandemic and economy, business has bounced back. He thinks more money in employees’ pockets means they’ll spend more at stores like his.
“The positivity that comes from there being higher wages, there’s just more money to be spent,” Vaughn said.
There are some restrictions to the increase. It only applies to employees older than 16 and businesses grossing over $372,000 a year. Otherwise, the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25, applies.