Eighteen states and 19 cities and counties rang in the New Year with minimum wage increases, continuing a trend that’s showing no sign of slowing down. Another three states and 18 cities and counties are scheduled to increase their rates later this year, according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP).
This surge in activity at the local government level should come as no surprise to employers. Most states and dozens of cities have raised minimum wages in recent years. These increases are in direct response to stagnation at the federal level – the national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour hasn’t changed since July 2009.
"When the federal government doesn’t move on an employment issue, local legislators often step in and pass their own laws,” says Ashley H. Kaplan, Esq., Senior Employment Law Attorney for ComplyRight. "This trend will continue as these jurisdictions take action to keep up with the rising cost of living."
Is Your Business in a State with a New Minimum Wage?
The states that raised their minimum wage on January 1 are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington. Based on an analysis conducted by the
Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the minimum wage increase in these states will provide more than $5 billion in additional wages to 4.5 million workers across the country.
Maine experienced the biggest jump, with the minimum wage moving from $9 to $10 per hour. Colorado, Hawaii, New York and Rhode Island also saw increases that pushed the minimum wage to $10 and over.
“About a third of the states currently have minimum wage rates close to or above $10, which is substantially higher than the federal minimum wage,” Kaplan said.
The following table shows the states that increased their minimum wage on January 1 as well as those with increases planned for later this year:
||2017 Minimum Wage
||2018 Minimum Wage
||$11.00 (for employers with 26+ employees)
||$9.65 (for employers with $500,000 annual gross sales)
||$9.70 - $11.00
||$10.40 - $13.00
|Increases Scheduled for Later in 2018
|District of Columbia
||$10 - $11.25
||$10.50 - $12.00
*Variable rates based on location, employer size or benefits.
Cities and Counties Take Action
Local minimum wage increases have been even more generous than increases at the state level, with several moving up to around $15 per hour. SeaTac in Washington, with a minimum wage of $15.64 per hour, leads the list of 19 cities and counties that raised their minimum wage on January 1. Large employers in Seattle are required to pay $15.45 per hour to workers without benefits.
In California, the Silicon Valley cities of Mountain View and Sunnyvale raised their minimum wage to $15, while the rate in Cupertino, Los Altos, Palo Alto and San Jose climbed to $13.50. Later this year, San Francisco, Berkeley and Emeryville, CA, as well as New York City, will see an increase to $15.
Campaigns currently underway in at least 17 more cities and states are expected to continue the wave of minimum wage increases. Among them are Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
Staying Up to Date with Frequent Minimum Wage Changes
In most cases, these minimum wage changes require new or updated workplace postings. Be sure to display all required local minimum wage postings as well as mandatory federal and state postings, even if the rates conflict. And when rates do conflict, you must pay the highest rate to your workers.
Keeping up with the changes can get complicated, especially if you operate in different regions with different minimum wage rates. To learn more about maintaining posting compliance, download our free e-guide, 10 Common Myths about Labor Law Posting Regulations. Also, view our Minimum Wage Monitor for up-to-date rate increases and upcoming changes across the nation.