Without much fanfare, the State Industrial Commission has boosted the state minimum wage for about 8,600 employees in Utah to $4.25 per hour, which reflects the federal minimum wage that took effect earlier this week.

The action means that all employees in Utah are either covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act or the Utah Minimum Wage Act that requires a minimum wage of $4.25 per hour, with a few exceptions.After an explanation of the new minimum wage provisions by Commission Chairman Stephen M. Hadley and John A. Medina, director of the Labor/Anti-Discrimination Division, Ron Morgan, executive director, Utah Restaurant Association, endorsed the proposal.

Earlier, Morgan had been quoted as saying that half of Utah's 2,800 restaurants are affected by the mandated $4.25 per hour minimum wage that became effective Monday. It probably will affect rural restaurants the most, he said, since they pay minimum wage.

The new rule adopted by the commission allows employers who have employees receiving tips to get 50 percent credit toward the minimum wage rather than the old figure of 45 percent. This means an employer need pay a worker only $2.13 per hour as long at the tips the person receives make up the difference to the minimum wage of $4.25 per hour.

The new state minimum wage was passed unanimously under emergency provisions of the Utah Rulemaking Act and went into effect Monday. Hadley said the new rule will go through the normal rulemaking process.

According to existing rules, minor employees must be paid at least 85 percent of the state minimum wage in effect for adults at the time. These "learners," who in the first 160 hours of employment, also received a pay raise in the last few days.