States Raising Minimum Wage

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One of the results of the closely followed midterm elections on Nov. 6 was the passage of minimum wage increases in two states that voted heavily for Donald Trump in 2016. Residents of Arkansas and Missouri each voted to lift their minimum wage levels, a progressive triumph in states that are typically regarded as conservative. The federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25 an hour.

Arkansas residents voted in favor of a bill that proposed the minimum wage rise to $11.00 an hour by 2021. Missouri voters also approved a measure that will increase their state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2023.

In light of the election, 24/7 Wall St. compiled a list of the 20 states that have confirmed increases to their minimum wage in 2019.

Missouri was already set to increase the minimum wage in 2019 by at least 25 cents to $8.10 per hour as per the state’s annual inflation-related wage adjustment. Voters in Missouri approved the bill that will increase the minimum wage to $8.60 an hour in 2019.

Last year, 18 states increased their minimum wage. Currently, 20 states are set to increase their minimum wage in 2019. In the case of several states, an increase in the minimum wage depended on the election outcome.

Not all states on this list will have a large increase in their minimum wage this year. In Alaska, minimum wage employees will only see a 5-cent-an-hour increase in their wage. Meanwhile, minimum wage employees in Massachusetts, Maine, and at large companies in California will be noticing the largest hike, with an increase of $1.00 an hour.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed federal labor law posting service LaborLawCenter, labor law compliance service GovDocs, employee advocacy group National Employment Law Project, and various news outlets to determine the states that will raise the minimum wage in 2019. The minimum wage listed for each state does not always apply to all workers. For example, the minimum wage of tipped employees is typically half the wage for non-tipped workers. These employees are required by law to make minimum wage after tip. The change listed for each state is the increase for the lowest paid group of non industry-specific workers, except tipped workers unless specified otherwise.

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1. Alaska
> 2019 minimum wage increase: $0.05
> New minimum wage: $9.89
> Increase takes effect: Jan. 1, 2019
> Planned minimum: N/A

Alaska will raise its minimum wage by just 5 cents to $9.89 an hour, the smallest minimum wage increase of any state, but up from $9.84 in 2018. The minimum wage had been $9.80 in 2017. Alaska’s minimum wage automatically increases to adjust for inflation rather than by ballot initiative or state legislative action.

Source: Thinkstock

2. Arizona
> 2019 minimum wage increase: $0.50
> New minimum wage: $11.00
> Increase takes effect: Jan. 1, 2019
> Planned minimum: $12.00 (2020)

Arizona’s minimum wage will increase to $11.00 an hour in 2019, up 50 cents from 2018. The tipped minimum wage will increase the same amount, from $7.50 to $8.00 per hour. The state’s minimum wage will continue to increase steadily until it hits $12.00 an hour in 2020.

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3. Arkansas
> 2019 minimum wage increase: $0.75
> New minimum wage: $9.25
> Increase takes effect: Jan. 1, 2019
> Planned minimum: $11.00 (2021)

Last night Arkansas voters approved the bill that will increase the minimum wage by 75 cents in 2019. The state’s minimum wage had been $8.50 since 2017. Arkansas is one of the poorest states in the nation, and the hike in minimum wage will enable one quarter of all state workers to get a raise. By 2021, low income workers will be earning $11.00 an hour.

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4. California
> 2019 minimum wage increase: $1.00 (large empl.), $0.50 (small empl.)
> New minimum wage: $12.00 (large empl.), $11.00 (small empl.)
> Increase takes effect: Jan. 1, 2019
> Planned minimum: $15.00 (2022-23)

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state’s $15 per hour minimum wage law into effect in 2016. Businesses with more than 25 employees will be required to pay workers at least $15 an hour by 2022. Small businesses will be required to match that by 2023. For now, the minimum wage will increase to $12.00 per hour for businesses with at least 25 employees and to $11.00 per hour for smaller employers in 2019.

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5. Colorado
> 2019 minimum wage increase: $0.90
> New minimum wage: $11.10
> Increase takes effect: Jan. 1, 2019
> Planned minimum: $12.00 (2020)

In 2019, Colorado’s low-income workers will see a a 90-cent boost to their hourly wage. By 2020, the minimum wage will be $12.00 an hour, thanks to the passage of Amendment 70 in 2017. Tipped employees will also receive an increase in 2019 to $8.08 an hour, up from the previous $7.18 an hour.