The minimum wage remains a popular issue for legislators on a federal, state and local level. Recently, a bill was introduced in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate titled the “Raise the Minimum Wage Act of 2019.” Since 2009, the federal minimum wage has remained $7.25 per hour. However, many states and localities have increased their minimum wage rates above the federal minimum wage.
According to a fact sheet about the proposed law, under the bill, the federal minimum wage rate would gradually increase over the next six years to $15 per hour. It includes a provision that would adjust the federal minimum wage thereafter to median wage growth. The bill also proposes tipped employees receive the full federal minimum wage by eliminating the tip credit. Additionally, it proposes to repeal the sub-minimum wage rates currently allowed for youth workers and individuals with disabilities.
Illinois Law Passed
As Congress mulls over the federal minimum wage, states continue to examine their minimum wages. In Illinois, for example, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law on February 19 that would increase the minimum wage from $8.25 per hour to $9.25 per hour on January 1, 2020. The law provides annual increases until the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour on January 1, 2025. The legislation provides employers with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees a credit against tax withheld beginning January 1, 2020 and would be reduced beginning January 1, 2021. The bill also includes a penalty of $100 per employee for failure to maintain required records.
What’s Happening in Other States?
Meanwhile, some other states are considering increases or making changes. Here are some examples.
Arizona. Legislation introduced a bill that seeks to exempt baseball players from minimum wage requirements. It would align with a federal law that exempts minor league players from the federal minimum wage. The bill has had a second reading. Another bill proposes a youth wage equal to the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour, for a worker who is: 1) under age 22; 2) works no more than 20 hours per week or who works excessive hours of employment for irregular and intermittent periods, and 3) enrolled as a full-time student. Arizona’s current minimum wage is $11 per hour.
Arkansas. A bill proposes to exempt certain workers from the current state minimum wage of $9.25 per hour. The proposed legislation would exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees (currently, fewer than four employees). Additionally, the bill would exempt schools including public and private universities, not-for-profit organizations and exclude workers under age 18 from the minimum wage rate.
California. On February 11, the Pasadena City Council approved a minimum wage increase of $14.25 per hour for employers with 26 or more workers and $13.25 per hour for small employers (25 or fewer workers), effective July 1, 2019. The rate increases to $15 per hour ($14.25 per hour for small employers) on July 1, 2020, then $15 per hour for small employers on July 1, 2021. Thereafter, the ordinance requires the minimum wage to be adjusted annually based on the regional Consumer Price Index (CPI). The current Pasadena minimum wage is $12 per hour. The ordinance must be drafted and requires two readings prior to enactment.
Connecticut. Governor Ned Lamont announced a minimum wage increase among several proposals aimed at working families. Lamont’s plan would increase the minimum wage from $10.10 per hour to $11.25 per hour in 2020, with scheduled annual increases of $1.25 per hour until it reaches $15 per hour in 2023. The details of the proposal were submitted to the legislature along with the proposed budget.
Delaware. Legislation has been introduced that seeks to eliminate the training and youth minimum wage, beginning in 2020. Employers can currently pay a training wage to an employee who is 18 years old or older, during the first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment, at a rate up to 50 cents less than the state minimum wage rate. The current state minimum wage is $8.75 per hour.
Hawaii. The state is considering a minimum wage increase from the current $10.10 per hour. The House Committee on Labor & Public Employment has passed a bill that would increase the minimum wage to $11.75 per hour, effective January 1, 2020. The bill would also schedule $1 increases annually until the minimum wage reaches $17 per hour, beginning January 1, 2025. For employers that are required to provide health benefits and the employees who receive health coverage, the minimum wage would increase to $11.25 on January 1, 2020, then $12 per hour on January 1, 2021, and would increase 50 cents per hour annually until it reaches $14 per hour on January 1, 2025. Additionally, the minimum wage would thereafter be adjusted annually based on the CPI.
Idaho. Minimum wage legislation has been introduced and referred to the Ways and Means Committee. A bill would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $8.75 per hour, effective July 1, 2019, then $10.50 per hour on July 1, 2020, and finally, $12 per hour on July 1, 2021. Thereafter, the minimum wage would increase on January 1 of each year adjusted according to the CPI. Cash tipped minimum wage would increase from $3.35 per hour to $7.35 per hour by July 1, 2021.
Kentucky. Proposed legislation would raise the minimum wage rate from $7.25 per hour to $8.20 per hour, effective July 1, 2019, with gradual scheduled increases until the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour on July 1, 2026. The bill would also raise the cash minimum wage for tipped employees and would allow local governments to establish minimum wage ordinances that exceed the state minimum wage.
Maryland. A bill proposes gradually raising the minimum wage rate to $15 per hour by July 1, 2023. In 2014, Maryland passed legislation that provided for a gradual increase to the current minimum wage rate of $10.10 per hour.
Michigan. In September 2018, a ballot initiative was approved and was headed to the November 6, 2018 booths that would increase the minimum wage from $9.25 per hour to $10 per hour, effective January 1, 2019. The initiative included scheduled annual increases until the minimum wage reached $12 per hour in 2022. A separate initiative was approved regarding paid leave. In response, the legislature passed a bill mirroring the initiative, which subsequently was amended in December 2018. The amended bill raised the minimum wage from $9.25 per hour to $9.45 per hour, effective March 29, 2019, with annual scheduled increases until the minimum wage reaches $12.05 per hour by 2030. State Senator Stephanie Chang formally requested that the Michigan Attorney General, Dana Nessel, review the constitutionality of the legislature’s “adopt and amend” method. Specifically, Chang argues, that under Article II, Section 9 of the Michigan Constitution, the legislature must either enact or reject an initiative petition and that an amendment is prohibited. Nessel has agreed to evaluate the request and has asked interested parties to submit written comments by March 6, 2019 to email@example.com, ATT: Opinions Division, so that they may be considered in the evaluation.
Missouri. A bill has been introduced and read for a second time in the House that would repeal the minimum wage increase, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2019 as approved by voters. The current minimum wage is $8.60 per hour, previously $7.85 per hour.
Nevada. Governor Steve Sisolak, in his State of the State address, called upon state lawmakers to introduce legislation to increase the minimum wage from $8.25 per hour to an unspecified amount.
New Hampshire. Proposed legislation would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10 per hour, effective Jan. 1, 2020, and beginning Jan. 1, 2022, the rate would increase to $11 per hour for employers who offer at least 10 paid sick days to employees or $12 per hour for employers who don’t.
New Mexico. A bill proposes to increase the minimum wage from $7.50 per hour to $10 per hour on July 1, 2019. The minimum wage would increase to: 1) $11 per hour on July 1, 2020; and 2) $12 per hour on July 1, 2021. Thereafter, the minimum wage would receive a cost of living adjustment annually. The legislation would eliminate the tip credit for tipped employees.
North Dakota. Proposed legislation would prohibit cities, counties, townships, school districts, and other local governments from passing an ordinance that would require an employer to pay any or all of the employees a wage rate not otherwise required under state or federal law.
Pennsylvania. Governor Tom Wolf advocates raising the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $12 per hour effective July 1, 2019, with gradual 50 cent increases until the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour in 2025. Wolf noted that the state minimum wage hasn’t seen an increase in a decade. A proposed law has been introduced that would raise the cash minimum wage for tipped employees from $2.13 per hour to $3.95 per hour. Beginning July 1, 2020, the cash minimum wage would increase to the greater of 70% of state minimum wage or 70% the federal minimum wage.
Rhode Island. Governor Gina Raimondo, in her State of the State address, called for an increase to the minimum wage. Her proposal would increase the minimum wage from $10.50 per hour to $11.10 per hour on January 1, 2020.
South Carolina. The state currently doesn’t have a minimum wage law. A proposed law would provide a base minimum wage $8.75 per hour, effective January 1, 2020. It would increase to $9.75 per hour by 2021 and $10.10 per hour by 2022. It also provides for the state minimum wage to be adjusted annually based on the CPI.
Texas. A bill has been introduced that would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour.
Virginia. Proposed legislation that sought to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10 per hour, effective July 1, 2019 and gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2021 was defeated in the Senate. Additionally, a bill that sought to permit localities to pass local minimum wage ordinances was also defeated.
Wyoming. Proposed legislation, which sought to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $8.50 per hour and called for scheduled annual increases of 25 cents per hour from July 1, 2019 until June 30, 2025, passed the House Labor committee but was defeated in the House.