Latest Minimum Wage Increase Comes to Amazon Workers – More Than Double the Federal Minimum
In early 2017, we brought your attention to a growing trend with the minimum wage: With no activity at the federal level, many state and local agencies were issuing their own updated rates.
Advancing this movement even further, there’s been a major development at the company level, too. On Tuesday, October 2, Amazon announced it’s raising the minimum wage for U.S. employees to $15/hour. The minimum wage increase will affect over 250,000 Amazon employees – including part-time and temporary employees – as well as 100,000 seasonal employees.
About the increase, CEO Jeff Bezos said: "We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead. We're excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us."
This news from Amazon marks an important milestone with minimum wage. What other businesses will follow suit, especially those with a higher proportion of low-paid workers? Already this year, Target raised the minimum wage for new hires to $12/hour in September, with plans to raise it to $15 by the end of 2020. Walmart, the largest private-sector employer in the U.S. with more than 1 million workers, bumped up its minimum wage to $11 in February.
With Amazon setting a precedent with this increase – and issuing a challenge for other large employers to do the same – we’ll be keeping a close eye on how this further impacts the minimum wage landscape.
Where the Minimum Wage Stands Today
The last increase to the federal minimum wage, which raised the rate to $7.25, took effect in July 2009. In the absence of any movement at the federal level for nearly nine years, more than 60 percent of states have bumped up their minimum wages. Not only do most states have a higher minimum wage than the federal rate, but a third of those states have minimum wages close to or above $10.
With the state-level minimum wage momentum showing no signs of slowing down, employers should continue to tune into what’s happening in their own backyards — and plan to comply with the necessary postings as changes occur.
Status of State and Local Minimum Wage Increases
Where does your state stand with the minimum wage uptick? The following states have new minimum wages (effective Jan. 1, 2018, in most cases):
||New Minimum Wage
Depending on the state, these minimum wage changes require new or updated workplace postings. Remember, too: States aren’t the only players on the minimum wage front. More cities and counties are issuing local-level minimum wage requirements. There are about 20 cities and counties that currently have wages above the $7.25 federal minimum, including major urban centers like New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago,
What to Do About Conflicting Minimum Wage Laws
Tuning into new and pending minimum wage changes is important for two key reasons:
- When the minimum wage varies at the federal, state or local level, you must pay the highest rate. This is a requirement under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which must be followed to the letter of the law.
- You must display local minimum wage postings in addition to mandatory federal and state postings. Even if the rates conflict, you must include all related postings in your workplace posting center.
We can help you keep up with minimum wage changes and related postings. First, check out the handy Minimum Wage Monitor. It provides a historical view of wage changes over the years, along with an interactive view of minimum wage regulations per state. You can find out the exact increases for the states, counties and cities in which you conduct business.
Then head over to PosterTracker.com. There, you can audit your current labor law postings for free to see if they are out of date, and explore options for maintaining compliance with all federal, state and local posting regulations.