S.D. raises wage standards for business loans

Capitol News Bureau

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota businesses that receive low-interest loans from state government in the future will need to pay employees more competitive wages.

The state Board of Economic Development revised its policies Friday. The new standard is a $15 minimum wage. It had been $10.50 since 2012.

The board set a starting target of at least $20 per hour for most jobs and a $25 minimum for preferred jobs such as at engineering and technology firms.

Travis Dovre is finance director for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development that oversees the 2% loans.

“We’re really seeing a shift in the workplace,” Dovre told board members at their annual meeting.

Chairman Jeff Erickson of Sioux Falls said the higher wage levels will be “a guideline” for the office. “Personally, I think it is a step in the right direction,” he said.

Erickson added, “What we wanted to focus on was to give the staff flexibility. We’re all over the state. (Fifteen) may not work in Sioux Falls but it may work really well in Miller. And what we’re really talking about, to put this in perspective, a $31,000-plus starting wage plus benefits, and the target is $42,500 wage plus benefits. And benefits normally are about thirty to thirty-five percent of the salary.”

Senator Reynold Nesiba, a Sioux Falls Democrat, is one of four legislators who are non-voting members on the board. “I think this is a move in the right direction,” Nesiba said.

The revisions take effect November 1.

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