The living-wage movement scored a string of wins in 2015.
The federal minimum wage has stayed the same since 2009. But many of the lowest-paid workers in the U.S. will soon be getting a raise anyway. Thanks in large part to pressure from the living wage movement, 29 state minimums will exceed the federal rate of $7.25 an hour, according to an analysis by Yannet Lathrop of the nonprofit National Employment Law Project.
California and Massachusetts will be the first states in the U.S. to have an hourly wage floor of $10 for all workers. Some cities, like Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, have gone further, gradually phasing in a $15 minimum wage. New York has a special pay rate just for fast-food workers. At restaurants with more than 30 employees, they’ll make $10.50 in the Big Apple, and $9.75 in the rest of the state, starting on New Year’s Eve.
Here are the states that have raised their wage floors:
- Alaska, from $8.75 to $9.75
- Arkansas, $7.50 to $8.00
- California, $9.00 to $10.00
- Colorado, $8.23 to $8.31
- Connecticut, $9.15 to $9.60
- Hawaii, $7.75 to $8.50
- Massachusetts, $9.00 to $10.00
- Michigan, $8.15 to $8.50
- Nebraska, $8.00 to $9.00
- New York, $8.75 to $9.00 (as of 12/31/15, fast food excepted)
- Rhode Island, $9.00 to $9.60
- South Dakota, $8.50 to $8.55
- Vermont, $9.15 to $9.60
- West Virginia, $8.00 to $8.75 (as of 12/31/15)
Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Minnesota have signed off on pay hikes that start later in 2016, and several other cities and states around the U.S. are bumping their hourly minimums up to $15 specifically for public-sector and government-contract employees.
That’s not to say that all minimum-wage workers will see more green in 2016. Some states automatically adjust their bottom pay rates to reflect changes in the cost of living, so low inflation has translated to minuscule increases. In eight states that index their minimum wages to consumer prices — Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington — workers won’t be getting any legally mandated raise at all.