Minimum Wage Increases in Eight States


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Staff Writer |

WASHINGTON — The minimum wage increased in eight states effective Jan. 1, boosting the incomes of more than 1.4 million low-wage workers in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

The state minimum wage in these states rose between 28 and 37 cents per hour—an extra $582 to $770 a year for a full-time worker—as a result of state laws that require the minimum wage to keep up with inflation, says the National Employment Law Project.

More than 1 million workers have been directly impacted as the new minimum wage rates exceeded their hourly pay, and 400,000 more have seen a raise as pay scales were adjusted upward to reflect the new minimum wage, according to an analysis of government data by the Economic Policy Institute.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have minimum wage rates above the federal level of $7.25 per hour, which is approximately $15,000 per year for a full-time minimum wage earner.

Washington state has the highest minimum wage at $9.04 per hour. Georgia and Wyoming, at $5.15 per hour, have the lowest.

There are no minimum wage laws in Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina, according to the Department of Labor.


It's not just minimum wage

It's not just minimum wage that went up. If I'm paying an employee $1.00 above minimum wage, for example, and the minimum wage increases by $.30, that above-minimum-wage employee perceives an effective pay cut of $.30 since she's now "only earning $.70 above minimum wage." At least if pay is left to the discretion of the business owner, we can discourage employees from discussing what they're paid. With a legal minimum wage increase, the higher-than-minimum earning employees all know that the entry-level employees just got a raise. Logically, they were superstar employees to be earning more than minimum already, so why do the entry level folks get a raise and the superstars do not?

Then again, it doesn't affect my business as much as others... As wages are forced to increase, the hours I schedule attendants simply decrease. It's a zero net loss (or gain) for me. I'm VERY glad we built our stores to be run unattended if necessary, because now it's necessary!



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