Four States Pass Minimum Wage Initiatives

Written by Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier on 11/11/2016

In Tuesday’s election, four states passed ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage. By 2020 minimum wage rates will rise to $12.00/hour in Arizona, Colorado, and Maine. Washington state's minimum wage will increase to $13.50, also by 2020. Initiatives in Arizona and Colorado also require businesses to provide employees with paid sick leave.

More broadly, in 2016 fourteen states raised their minimum wage. These include Alaska, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, New York, Rhode Island and West Virginia. California's wage rate will increase to $15.00/hour by 2022 and applies to the entire state including non-metropolitan areas.

California's law includes differentiated rates by size of firm. An increase in the wage rate goes into effect in 2022 for employers with 26 or more employees . Smaller employers will see a comparable wage rate increase in 2023. The policy can be paused should economic conditions warrant such an action. The rate will be indexed the year following initial policy implementation.

New York legislators passed a law to raise the minimum wage in New York City to $15 per hour by the end of 2018. Washington D.C. enacted a law to increase its minimum wage rate to $15 per hour by July 1, 2020. In total, 30 states have legislated increases in their minimum wage over the last ten years.