With the start of the new year, 20 states have raised their minimum wage — by as much as $1.50 per hour and as little as 8 cents.
For some workers, the increases will help their families whose bread earners have been hard-hit by the coronavirus and are trying to make ends meet. For others, miniscule increases won’t make much of a dent.
“We have lots of low-wage, service workers who are working through the COVID crisis, many of whom are in jobs with a greater risk of transmission,” Ken Jacobs, chair of the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California-Berkeley told CNN.
“This will be a very welcome boost for them. As well, a lot of families are struggling right now in this crisis,” Jacobs said.
The biggest minimum wage jump comes in New Mexico, which raised the required salary by $1.50, to $10.50. The tiniest increase comes in Minnesota, where workers will gain an additional 8 cents an hour, to $10.08.
Among states with big increases are Arkansas (up $1 to $11), California (up $1 to $14), Illinois (up $1 to $11) and New Jersey (up $1 to $12).
Among those with small increases are Alaska (up $15 cents to $10.34), Arizona (up 15 cents to $12.15), Florida (up 9 cents to $8.65), Maine (up 15 cents to $12.15), Montana (up 10 cents to $8.75), Ohio (up 10 cents to $8.80), South Dakota (up 15 cents to $9.45) and Washington (up 19 cents to $13.69).
Other states providing increases are Colorado (32 cents to $12.32), Maryland (75 cents to $11.75), Massachusetts (75 cents to $13.50), New York (70 cents to $12.50) and Vermont (79 cents to $11.75).
New York city, however, has a $15-per-hour minimum wage, and certain suburban areas are higher than the $12.50, as well.
Some states are not permitted by law to increase the minimum wage under certain conditions. for example, Michigan, a state law requires that the annual unemployment average fall below 8.5%. Unemployment there stood at 10.2 percent through 12 months of 2020, making it impossible to bring the average below the mandated minimum.
The federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour, and 20 states — most in the South and West –have a minimum either equal to or below that amount.
The minimum wage increases this year “are an indication that people understand how much the $7.25 federal minimum wage keeps people in poverty,” Holly Sklar, chief executive officer of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, told CBS News.
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