Health care worker Sun Benjamin wears a cap advocating a $15 minimum wage as she prepares to march in a daylong protest in support of fast food workers on Dec. 5, 2013, in SeaTac, Wash.
The new year will usher in a welcome change for workers in 13 states in which the minimum wage will rise above the federally required bottom line of $7.25 an hour, with some states kicking off the trend Jan. 1.
What’s more, according to analysts at the National Employment Law Project, by this time next year, states with hourly rates hovering above the federal level will outnumber those sticking to the national mandate. No credit is due to Congress getting its act together on the labor front, of course. USA Today brought the good news (relatively speaking) Sunday:
Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island legislatures voted to raise the minimum hourly wage by as much as $1, to $8 to $8.70, by Wednesday. In California, a $1 increase to $9 is scheduled July 1. Smaller automatic increases tied to inflation will take effect in nine other states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
Meanwhile, states such as Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, Minnesota and South Dakota plan to weigh minimum-wage hikes next year through legislation or ballot initiatives.
In Minnesota, the state House and Senate have each passed bills to raise the minimum wage and plan to iron out their differences early next year after failing to approve similar measures the past two decades.