The minimum wage rate has climbed up at the beginning year for workers in 20 states, and workers in four other states are expecting to see a rise in their salaries before the end of the year.
States and localities can set their own rates, under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Although some states do not have minimum wage laws, employers in those states must follow the federal minimum wage. The federal rate has remained at $7.25 an hour since it was increased from $5.15 an hour in 2009.
The minimum wage in Georgia and Wyoming has remained at $5.15 an hour despite the federal increase. Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee have no minimum wage laws. These five states, as well as Georgia and Wyoming, are required to follow the federal rate under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
Analysis of data from the Labor Department has indicated that around 1.7 million workers in the nation are earning wages below $7.25 an hour.
Some activists and Democratic presidential candidates have been calling for a minimum wage of $15 an hour. However, conservatives have argued against raising the minimum wage, citing the strain on small businesses that do not earn enough to offset higher wages.
States like Minnesota and Ohio set wage rates depending on the scale of the business. In Nevada, the minimum wage is set higher for employers who do not provide health benefits, compared to those who offer benefits to employees.
Some economists have argued that slightly higher minimum wages will help the economy as it gives consumers more spending power. Other ecomonists, however, maintain that raising the minimum wage would limit job opportunities across the nation because higher salaries would prevent employers from hiring extra workers.
Washington has the highest minimum wage rate at $13.50 per hour followed by California at $13 per hour. New York has already raised the wage rate to $11.80 per hour on Dec. 31, but workers can expect another raise at the end of the year. Meanwhile, minimum wage workers in the nation’s capital is expecting their salaries to reach $15 an hour in mid-2020.
Here is a list of states that have already raised the minimum wage rate at the beginning of the year.
- Alaska – raised the minimum wage from $9.89 in 2019 to $10.19 2020 beginning on Jan. 1.
- Arizona – from $11 last year to $12 effective Jan. 1.
- Arkansas – from $9.25 to $10 effective Jan. 1.
- California – from $12 to $13 effective Jan. 1.
- Colorado – from $11.10 to $12 effective Jan. 1.
- Florida – from $8.46 to $8.56 effective Jan. 1.
- Illinois – from $8.25 to $9.25 effective Jan. 1.
- Maine – from $11 to $12 effective Jan. 1.
- Maryland – from $10.10 to $11 effective Jan. 1.
- Massachusetts – from $12 to $12.75 effective Jan. 1.
- Michigan – from $9.45 to $9.65 effective Jan. 1.
- Minnesota (large employers) – from $9.86 to $10 for large employers, from $8.04 to $8.15 for small employers, effective Jan. 1.
- Missouri – from $8.60 to $9.45 effective Jan. 1.
- Montana – from $8.50 to $8.65 effective Jan. 1.
- New Jersey – from $10 to $11 effective Jan. 1.
- New Mexico – from $7.50 to $9 effective Jan. 1.
- Ohio – from $8.55 to $8.70 effective Jan. 1.
- South Dakota – from $9.10 to $9.30 effective Jan. 1.
- Vermont – from $10.78 to $10.96 effective Jan. 1.
- Washington – from $12 to $13.50 effective Jan. 1.
These states are expected to raise the minimum wage rate later this year:
- Connecticut – from $11 to $12 effective Sept. 1.
- Nevada (employer health benefits) from $7.25 to $8 for employers with health benefits, from $8.25 to $9 for employers with no health benefits, effective July 1.
- New York – from $11.80 to $12.50 Dec. 31.
- Oregon – from $11.25 to $12 July 1.