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From $7.25 to More than $15: Understand the Changing Dynamics of Minimum Wage Legislation

By ComplyRight –

Minimum Wage Monitor mapMinimum wage workers doing the same job are paid drastically different wages and it all depends on where they work.

States, cities, counties – and even corporations – are setting their own minimum wages for workers. This year alone, rates will go up in 20 states as well as numerous cities and counties. These are just the latest round of increases due to inaction at the federal level.

The national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn’t changed in a decade – despite many lawmakers pressing for an increase. However, it just might happen. A bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour has recently been introduced. And the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the issue in the coming weeks.

Local Lawmakers Step Up

In the meantime, state and local governments continue to take matters into their own hands. Minimum wage workers in these states will receive a raise in 2019. Here are the new rates:

1. Alaska: $9.89, from $9.84
2. Arizona: $11, from $10.50
3. Arkansas: $9.25, from $8.50
4. California: $12, from $11 (employers with 26+ employees)
5. Colorado: $11.10, from $10.20
6. Delaware: $8.75, from $8.25 ($9.25 effective 10/1/19)
7. Florida: $8.46, from $8.25
8. Maine: $11, from $10
9. Massachusetts: $12, from $11
10. Michigan: $9.45, from $9.25
11. Minnesota: $9.86, from $9.65 (for companies with annual gross revenues of $500,000+)
12. Montana: $8.50, from $8.30
13. New Jersey: $10, from $8.60
14. New York: $11.10-$15, up from 10.40-$13 (depending on location)
15. Ohio: $8.55, from $8.30
16. Oregon: $11-$12.50, up from $10.50-$12 (depending on location)
17. Rhode Island: $10.50, from $10.10
18. South Dakota: $9.10, from $8.85
19. Vermont: $10.78, from $10.50
20. Washington: $12, from $11.50

Cities and counties also are taking charge and passing their own minimum wages. Among them:

• SeaTac, near Seattle, has the highest minimum wage in the country at $16.09 an hour
• Flagstaff, AZ and Chicago, IL are at $13 an hour
• Santa Fe, NM pays minimum wage employees $11.80 an hour

Employers should note that when federal, state and/or city minimum wage rates conflict, businesses must pay the highest amount. This is a requirement of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Corporations Boost Compensation

It’s clear that with no activity at the federal level, state and local governments are issuing their own rates. Advancing this movement even further, many companies are upping minimum wages for workers.

Amazon raised its rate to $15 an hour for its U.S. employees. The company has also lobbied Washington to do the same. The support by Amazon is one of the reasons for the legislation currently pending in Congress.

Many other corporations have followed suit. For example, Target executives have stated they will reach the $15 mark by 2020. And the Walt Disney Co. plans to increase its rate to $15 by 2021.

Similarly, Costco recently announced that it will boost its minimum wage to $14 for U.S. and Canadian employees. This will be the second increase in a year.

Keep Up with the Latest Laws

The ever-changing rates can be difficult to track – particularly for employers with multiple business locations. The Minimum Wage Monitor from ComplyRight can help. This online tool provides a historical view of wage changes over the year, along with an interactive view of minimum wage regulations for each state. You can find out the exact increases for the states, counties and cities where you conduct business.

One final reminder: To remain compliant, state federal and local (if applicable) minimum wage labor law postings must be displayed – even if they conflict. PosterTracker offers a low-cost annual subscription service that provides the posters employers need with automatic replacements anytime a mandatory change occurs.


ComplyRightAbout ComplyRight: ComplyRight’s mission is to free employers from the burden of tracking and complying with the complex web of federal, state and local employment laws, so they can stay focused on managing and growing their businesses. ComplyRight tracks federal, state and local regulatory activity, creates practical, affordable solutions that streamline essential tasks, and complements these solutions with educational content and actionable guidance. From hiring and training, to time tracking and recordkeeping, to labor law posting and tax information reporting, ComplyRight’s innovative products and services address the real-world challenges employers face every day.

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