The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and hasn’t changed since 2009, but more and more states are choosing to offer higher rates. Organized labor and anti-poverty groups continue to rally for an across the board $15 an hour minimum wage.
Washington, D.C., currently pays the highest minimum wage at $13.25 an hour. The hourly wage will increase to $15.00 by July 1, 2020, then indexed annual increases based on CPI (consumer price index) begins July 1, 2021.
Washington state has a minimum wage of $11.50 per hour and will increase it to $12.00 effective Jan. 1, 2019, then to $13.50 on Jan. 1, 2020.
California and Massachusetts pay their hourly workers a minimum wage of $11.00. Californians will see $15.00 by Jan. 1, 2022 with $1.00 yearly increments, beginning Jan. 1, 2019, then indexed annual increases based on CPI begins Jan. 1, 2022. Massachusetts residents will see $15.00 an hour by Jan. 1, 2023, with a $1.00 increment on Jan. 1, 2019, and $0.75 increments until 2023.
Another state along the West Coast, Oregon, has among the highest minimum wages at $10.75 per hour. Beginning July 1, 2019, the wage will increase to $11.25, with $0.75 per hour increments until July 1, 2022 to reach $13.50 per hour. Indexed annual increases based on the CPI are effective July 1, 2023.
There are 21 states and Puerto Rico paying workers the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Those states are: Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The states paying the lowest hourly minimum wage are Georgia and Wyoming at $5.15 per hour.
While these states have set their minimum wage below the federal minimum wage, the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act applies, meaning that most employees must be paid $7.25 per hour. Some exceptions are tipped employees and students under a certain age.
In last Tuesday’s midterms, Arkansas and Missouri residents voted to raise their minimum wage. Missouri residents voted to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.85 an hour to $12 per hour by 2023. In Arkansas, voters passed its measure from $8.50 an hour to $11 per hour in 2021.