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Arizona Minimum Wage Increases to $7.35 in 2011

Posted by Tamara

Labor Commissioner Laura L. McGrory recently announced that Arizona’s minimum wage will go from $7.25 to $7.35 per hour on January 1, 2011. This 10 cent increase is based on a resolution issued by the board of the Industrial Commission of Arizona.

Arizona minimum wage applies to nearly every employer in the state. This specifically includes any company covered under the federal FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), including those with annual earnings of $500,000 or more and businesses engaged in interstate commerce.

The minimum wage increase in Arizona relates to an amendment passed by voters in 2006. That amendment states that Arizona’s minimum wage will increase annually based on the cost of living. According to the federal Consumer Price Index (CPI) for All Urban Customers, the CPI for the 12 months ending in August, 2010 increased by 1.1%.

The minimum wage in Arizona is currently higher than the federal minimum wage, and is projected to remain so throughout 2011. This is important to note, because employees who are eligible under both state and federal minimum wage laws, are entitled to whichever provides greater benefit. In this case, Arizona’s state minimum wage provides the greater benefit.

The minimum wage for tipped employees will also increase by 10 cents on January 1, 2011, from $4.25 to $4.35 per hour. Employees covered by this Arizona minimum wage law including hair dressers, barbers, valets, service bartenders, car wash attendants. If, however, these tipped employees do not receive enough tips to average at least $7.35 per hour worked in a pay period, the employer must make up the difference.

Arizona law contains very few exceptions to the minimum wage. Babysitters who work on a casual basis in the employer’s home, employees of the state or federal government and those persons employed by a family member (specifically a sibling or parent) are exempt from the state minimum wage.

Temporary workers, students, and part-time workers, however, must all be paid the state minimum wage.


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