Kentucky governor raises minimum wage for some state workers

(Reuters) - Kentucky's governor said on Monday he would raise the minimum wage for hundreds of lower-paid state workers under his control to $10.10 an hour from the current $7.25, and urged private employers to do the same.

The new minimum wage will apply to nearly 800 workers under the executive branch of state government starting on July 1, Democratic Governor Steve Beshear said in a news release.

"When people work hard at a full-time job, they should have enough money to live on. Right now, at minimum wage, they don't. That's unacceptable," Beshear said.

Louisville officials in December approved a minimum wage increase for the city, but a measure to raise Kentucky's minimum wage statewide stalled in the state legislature earlier this year. The Democratic-controlled House approved the measure, which failed in the Republican-led Senate.

In 2014, lawmakers in 10 states plus the District of Columbia approved minimum wage increases and voters in four states approved increases through ballot measures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

Beshear's order affects 510 workers who earn less than $10.10 an hour and 269 who earn around $10 an hour, he said. The minimum wage for tipped workers, such as restaurant servers, will more than double to $4.90 per hour, he said.

The increases will cost about $1.6 million and most affect veterans nursing homes, behavioral health facilities and state parks, Beshear said.

Private companies will be required to pay employees who work on or in connection with state government service contracts the same $10.10 minimum as their agreements come up for renewal, he said.

(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Peter Cooney)