California and MA raised their minimum wage to $10.00 an hour, which will be the highest in the nation until July, when the District of Columbia raises its minimum wage to $11.50 an hour.
As the United States marks more than six years without an increase in the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, 14 states and several cities are moving forward with their own increases, with many taking effect on New Year’s Day.
According to the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, the increase in 2016 to $10 an hour will affect 450,000 workers. The state’s minimum wage was $8 dollars per hour, but will now be $8.75.
The 14 states where increases took effect Friday are: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia.
The amount that employers can pay 16- and 17-year-olds – which is 85 percent of the minimum wage – will stay at $7.25, the equivalent of the federal minimum wage.
The state’s minimum wage went up starting Thursday for employees of various industries, particularly those working in fast food establishments.
A $15 minimum wage is going to destroy many jobs.
“An increase in the minimum wage makes economic sense because the result is more money in the hands of people who will spend it and invest in our local businesses”, state Department of Labor Commissioner Sharon M. Palmer said.
Sources: National Employment Law Project, PayWizard.org, and the National Conference of State Legislature. “That’s because wages have been stagnant or fallen across the board for most workers – particularly for workers whose wages are lowest – for many years, and it will take a while for these patterns to reverse”.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 3 million workers earned the federal minimum wage or less past year.
Backers say a higher minimum wage helps combat poverty, but opponents worry about the potential impact on employment and company profits.