For the first time in nearly a decade the federal minimum wage will increase Tuesday, July 24, 2007 from $5.15 per hour to $5.85. The $0.70 increase is scheduled to continue each summer for the following two years and will stop at $7.25 per hour in 2009.
Attorney Ravinder S. Nagi, Chair of the Labor and Employment Practice Group at Tom Bolt & Associates P.C., noted that most Virgin Islands employers and employees are not affected by the increase this year, because since January 1, 2007 the Virgin Islands’ minimum wage was increased to $6.15 per hour- higher then the impending $5.85 federal minimum wage increase.
Attorney Nagi said, “However, this will change in mid-2008 when the second of the three federal minimum wage increases would become effective and set the federal minimum wage to $6.55 per hour- $0.40 higher then the Virgin Islands’ current minimum wage.”
The Governor, Legislature, and Dept. of Labor may determine to increase the United States Virgin Islands minimum wage automatically to keep in step with that of the federal minimum wage or decide once again to increase the minimum wage to a level higher than that of the Federal government. Any such proposed increases from the Government of the Virgin Islands will have to also take into account that another increase will occur in mid-2009 when the federal minimum wage will increase to $7.25, which is $1.10 higher than the current United States Virgin Islands minimum wage.