Indiana's minimum wage to increase Friday

Some minimum wage workers will make 70 cents more an hour starting Friday.

Richard Essex/Eyewitness News

Lebanon - The Indiana Department of Labor reminds employers and employees that the Indiana minimum wage will increase from $6.55 per hour to $7.25 per hour on July 24, 2009. The minimum wage increase is in conjunction with the federal minimum wage increase and is the third in a three-year series of increases.

Most Hoosier employers and employees are covered by the federal minimum wage, however those not covered under federal law may still be covered by the Indiana Minimum Wage Law.

Employers of "tipped employees" must still pay employees at least $2.13 per hour in addition to their tips. If their tips combined with the employer's wage of $2.13 per hour do not add up to the minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference.

The increase means about $1,500 a year for a person making minimum wage. For some owners, it means not hiring as many people.

Lisa Richards and her family work almost around the clock someday, keeping the ice cream going and the hamburgers cooking at the Milky Way Restaurant.

"When [you're] the small business owner, you have to do it all big time," Richards said.

Because her store doesn't gross more than $500,000 a year, she isn't required to pay the additional 70 cents an hour as mandated by the increase.

"There is an expectation of that, so you have a 14-, 15-, 16-year-old girl or young man that is walking in the front door for their first time job, that is what their expectations are," Richards said.

The increase, she says, is just another cost increase that is taking a toll on her and her business.

"When your payroll goes up, it's all relative, then unemployment goes up, then payroll taxes go up, then insurance goes up, everything," Richards said.

With the economy weakening and her expense increasing, she's spending more time at the counter.

"It has a ripple effect across the board," said Richards.

It also means her brother is spending more time at the grill. The Richards family took over the Milky Way in 1982. Aside from providing Boone County with ice cream and hamburgers, she has provided hundreds of first jobs to students.

"I have taught every teenager in Lebanon to sweep and mop a floor and wash dishes," Richards said.

She is offering kids a chance to earn money and experience.

"I was desperate. I need gas money for my car, but it's more than that," said part-time worker Sarah Tuner. "I have to manage my money now."

A first job bonus not mandated by the federal minimum wage.

"It is making me more responsible," Tuner said.

For a free copy of the Indiana Minimum Wage poster, please visit