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States Raise Minimum Wage in 2014

By Joanne Deschenaux  8/28/2014
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Despite gridlock in Congress on a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage, many lower-paid workers have seen their earnings increase due to recent changes in state requirements.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 38 states introduced minimum wage bills during their 2014 legislative sessions. Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., enacted increases.

State-by-State Breakdown

Connecticut: Connecticut’s hourly minimum wage will increase incrementally to $10.10 over the next three years. The state’s minimum wage is currently $8.70 per hour. Under the new legislation, the minimum wage will increase to $9.15 per hour as of Jan. 1, 2015.

A second increase, effective Jan.1, 2016, will bring the minimum wage to $9.60 per hour. The third and final increase will make it $10.10 per hour, effective Jan. 1, 2017. This is the second time the state has increased its minimum wage rate in the past two years. Legislation increased the state’s minimum wage to $8.70 an hour effective Jan. 1, 2014.

Delaware: Delaware’s minimum wage will increase to $8.25 an hour, one dollar more than the previous rate of $7.25, effective June 1, 2015. An interim jump of 50 cents occurred on June 1, 2014, making the current rate $7.75. Delaware last raised its minimum wage in 2009 to parallel the federal government rate.

Hawaii: Hawaii enacted a minimum wage bill that will gradually increase the state’s current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour over the next four years. The first increase, raising wages to $7.75 per hour, will occur on Jan. 1, 2015. That rate will increase to $8.50 per hour Jan. 1, 2016; to $9.25 per hour Jan. 1, 2017; and then to $10.10 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018.

Maryland: Maryland raised its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The increase will be gradual. The first rise, to $8 per hour, will occur on Jan. 1, 2015. By July 2016, the rate will be $8.75 per hour, and by July 2017, it will be $9.25 per hour. The last increase, to $10.10, will come by July 2018.

Massachusetts: A new law will gradually raise the minimum wage in the state to $11 per hour by 2017, the highest of any U.S. state. The minimum wage, currently $8, will increase to $9 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2015, $10 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2016, and $11 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Michigan: A new law increased the state's minimum hourly wage to $8.15 on Sept. 1, 2014, and will ultimately raise it to $9.25 per hour as of Jan. 1, 2018, through a series of four steps. The wage will ultimately be indexed to inflation. However, the inflation-based increase will not go into effect if the unemployment rate for the state exceeds 8.5 percent at any time during the preceding year.

Minnesota: The state's minimum wage increased on Aug. 1, 2014, to $8 per hour for large employers. The wage for these employers— those that make more than $500,000 in gross sales each year—will increase to $9 on Aug. 1, 2015, and to $9.50 on Aug. 1, 2016. Beginning in 2018, the wage will be indexed to inflation to a maximum increase of 2.5 percent per year.

Small employers in the state—those making less than $500,000 in gross sales each year—are allowed to pay a lower minimum wage. Their minimum wage increased from $5.25 to $6.50 per hour on Aug. 1, 2014, and will increase to $7.25 on Aug. 1, 2015, and to $7.75 on Aug. 1, 2016. From 2018 on, their minimum-wage rate will also be indexed to inflation.

Rhode Island: The state’s minimum wage will increase to $9 per hour, effective Jan. 1, 2015. This is the third increase in three years in the state’s minimum wage.

Vermont: The state's minimum wage will rise to $10.50 an hour by 2018. The wage rate will rise from the current $8.73 per hour, to $9.60 in 2016, $10 in 2017 and $10.50 in 2018.

After 2018, the law requires annual cost-of-living increases of either 5 percent or if it is lower, a rate calculated by the federal Department of Labor annually that is tied to the consumer price index.

West Virginia: The state’s hourly minimum wage will increase by $1.50 an hour—from $7.25 to $8.75—over the next two years. The wage rate will go up to $8 on Jan. 1, 2015, and increase to $8.75 the following Jan. 1.

Washington, D.C.: The Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2013 will increase the district’s minimum hourly wage in three steps to $11.50 by July 1, 2016, up from the current $8.25 per hour. Cities Set Higher Wages

The San Diego City Council on Aug. 18, 2014, overrode Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto of an ordinance raising the city’s minimum wage to $11.50 per hour. The wage increase will be phased in over a three-year period. In January 2015, the minimum wage will increase to $9.75; in January 2016 it will increase to $10.50; and in January 2017 it will increase to $11.50.

And Seattle enacted the highest wage of all—$15 per hour, to be phased in over three to seven years, depending on the size of the business and the type of employee benefits paid by the employer.

Joanne Deschenaux, J.D., is SHRM’s senior legal editor.

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