Several states raising minimum wage

Federal minimum wage increase legislation continues to make news, and minimum wage action is already taking place in many states.  Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island have passed bills providing for minimum wage increases starting in 2014.  In Connecticut, minimum wage will rise to $8.70 in 2014 and to $9.00 in 2015.  In Rhode Island, minimum wage will increase to $8.00 in 2014.  And in New York it will increase in three stages: to $8.00 on December 31, 2013; to $8.75 on December 31, 2014; and to $9.00 on December 15, 2015.

A bill that would increase California’s minimum wage to $10.00 an hour by 2016 was recently passed by the state Legislature and sent to the Governor, who said he would sign it. The measure would raise the current $8.00 by $2.00 over two years.

In New Jersey, this November, voters will decide on an increase in minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25.  In Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, and South Dakota, there are initiatives to have a minimum wage increase on the ballot in 2014.  Other states are in various discussions with introducing legislation. 

Currently, the Federal minimum wage is $7.25 while 19 states already have a higher minimum wage.  In our 3 states, the current minimum wages are:  MA: $8.00; RI: $7.75; and NH: $7.25.  The City of Cambridge, MA, has a Living Wage Ordinance which has set the minimum wage at $13.69 since 2009.

The current Federal minimum wage of $7.25 annualizes to $15,080 per year if calculated on a 40-hour week.  The official poverty level in the country for a family of 4 is $23,492.