Minimum Wages Rising In 20 States And Several Cities

McDonalds workers and their supporters protest outside of a company-owned restaurant

McDonalds workers and their supporters protest outside of a company-owned restaurant

Ohio's hourly minimum wage is about to rise again, with the rate going up by 25 cents an hour today from $8.30 to $8.55. This is well above the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

The remaining 21 states use the federal minimum wage: Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The new state minimum wage laws could affect about 5.3 million workers who are now earning less than the new standards, according to the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute, based in Washington, D.C. That equates to nearly 8 percent of the workforce in those 20 states but doesn't account for additional minimum wage increases in some cities. They get a pay hike. This brings to 29 the number of states with higher minimum wages than the federal level. The change will mean less for people in high-cost states like California and NY.

The popularity of minimum wage increases with voters has sometimes led to battles between voters and legislatures, as well as between states and smaller communities within them. In Michigan, legislators this year passed a wage increase before it was slated to go on the ballot in November, then, after the election, passed laws reducing the wage increases.

According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), a nonprofit pushing for better pay, the list includes Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York and Washington state. Wages and tips combined must equal at least the minimum wage.

Seattle, the fastest-growing large city in the USA, has been at the forefront of the movement for higher minimum wages.

The federal minimum wage was last raised in 2009.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, New Yorkers will get more time to bond with a new child, to care for a sick family member or to help loved ones when a family member is deployed overseas for military service as the state's eligible paid family leave increases to 10 weeks.

Some of the 2019 hikes are part of laws that require wages to increase progressively each year. Numerous states that voted to increase their minimums have also previously passed laws forbidding cities from setting their local wages higher. The government said it would give a six-month grace period to companies to change the wage structure.

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