Increase in minimum wage: 21 states will increase by January 1

As early as 2022, some states will cap payments ranging from cents to dollars per hour.

Many of the hikes will go into effect Saturday, but New York is due to take effect starting Friday.

In New York and seven other states, the increase is part of a scheduled increase in efforts to reach the $15 minimum wage in the coming years. Additional states are California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island, according to a report by payroll experts from Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory US, a company that provides finance, compliance and regulatory information.

States raised rates because of previously approved legislation or ballot initiatives, and other state-mandated wage increases – in places such as Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington – due to automatic costs. There are out-of-living adjustments that are based on inflation.
Missouri voters passed a resolution in 2018 that gradually raises the statewide minimum wage to $12 over five years. Michigan, New Mexico and Virginia adopted similar legislation with goals of $12.

Connecticut, Oregon, Florida and Nevada will also see minimum wage increases, which will go into effect later in the new year.

Federal efforts to raise the minimum wage

The federal minimum wage will remain at $7.25, a rate that has not increased since it began in 2009. The nearly 13-year period is the longest American labor has gone without a federally mandated bump in wages.

President Joe Biden and some progressive Democrats have previously advocated for the $15 federal minimum wage. By signing an executive order in April, Biden raised the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15. This hike will be effective from the end of January.
However, efforts to bring about a nationwide federal increase last February failed when a Senate lawmaker ruled against including an increase in the minimum wage in a COVID relief bill. Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont introduced an amendment in March to try to include a minimum wage increase following the Senate lawmaker’s decision. While its passage was already slim given the narrowly divided Senate, eight Democrats voted against the amendment.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, one of the Democrats who voted against the amendment, told CNN’s Jake Tapper at the time that he wanted to raise the federal minimum wage to $11 and then “be indexed for inflation, So it will never become political football again.” Others criticizing raising the federal minimum wage argue that if employers were to pay their workers $15 an hour, they would hire fewer workers – resulting in fewer jobs.
Advocates like Biden argue that the $15 salary will provide “people above the poverty line.” The Congressional Budget Office estimated in 2019 that the $15 minimum wage “would net about 1.3 million people out of poverty.”

While federal law has remained stagnant, some private companies have taken it upon themselves to raise their minimum wages. In September, Walmart raised its minimum wage to $12 an hour and Amazon raised its average starting rate to $18.

In addition to 21 states, individual cities and counties are implementing wage increases. Thirty-five cities and counties will see higher wages in the new year, according to the National Employment Law Project. In New York State, the $15 minimum wage only applies in certain locations, including New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County. And while Maryland is raising its minimum wage to $12.50, Montgomery County, near Washington, DC, has already implemented a $15 minimum wage.

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