S.C. employers would have to pay workers at least $1 an hour more than the federal minimum wage and adjust the minimum wage based on inflation each year if bills filed Tuesday pass in the General Assembly.
The bills, introduced by six Democratic state senators, allows workers to file complaints about employers who fail to pay the minimum wage.
Businesses have 15 days to give unpaid wages before legal action is taken. The state Attorney General's office also could take legal action.
Employers cannot retaliate against workers who file complaints under the proposed minimum-wage law.
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The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
Scott said the rising cost of healthcare and payroll taxes are "coming out of paychecks of hard-working citizens."
"Why not begin to reward people for work. This $2,000 (yearly) roughly would make a tremendous difference in a household's income," he said, adding that for families subsisting on one or more minimum-wage jobs could benefit from the slight monthly boost in cash, which could help them meet transportation and other needs.
Scott was joined in sponsoring the bills by fellow Democrats -- Darrell Jackson of Richland, Brad Hutto of Orangeburg, Kevin Johnson of Clarendon, John Matthews of Orangeburg and Glenn Reese of Spartanburg.
The bill was not received well by Republicans, who dominate the legislature.
"I would be concerned that this would have an adverse effect on continuing economic improvement," said Shane Massey, who serves as whip in the Republican caucus, building party consensus.
"It's easy to say people would be better off if we pay them more money, the problem is that money has to come from somewhere," said the Edgefield Republican. "If McDonald's has to pay more...they're either going to charge more, or they're not going to hire more people."
A better solution, Massey said, would be to provide people with the "training and skills they need to get higher paying jobs, rather than forcing employers to pay higher wages for low-skilled jobs."