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Minimum Wage Laws Greatly Expanded in 2016

Pay to rise for millions: Minimum wage will increase in 19 states

Nineteen states, including New York and California, will ring in the New Year with an increase in the minimum wage. At $11/hour, Massachusetts and Washington State will have the highest new minimum wages in the country.

California will raise its wage to $10. New York State is taking a regional approach, with the wage rising to $11 in New York City, $10 in its down-state suburbs, and $9.70 elsewhere.

Voters in Arizona, Maine, Colorado, and Washington approved increases in this year’s election. Seven other states—Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, and South Dakota—are automatically raising the wage based on indexing. The other states seeing minimum wage increases are Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Michigan, and Vermont.

The adjustments in Oregon, New York, California and several other states are part of a series of gradual increases to a $12 or $15 hourly wage. In Maryland, for example, the minimum wage for 2017 is initially set at $9.25 beginning July 1, 2017, and is slated for an increase to $10.10, effective July 1, 2018. At the current time, 29 states have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage ($7.25/hour), and five states (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee) have not set a state minimum wage. Minimum wage has also gone up as of January 1, 2017, in 22 cities and counties, including San Diego and San Jose, CA, and Seattle, WA. The federal minimum was last raised in 2009.

We have reported on minimum wage activity in a series of alerts (see: January 2016 and November 2016). Increases in minimum wage, coupled with Right to Work laws in 32 states, have significantly changed the employment landscape. As Representative Virginia Foxx from North Carolina, incoming Chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce, recently stated, “Organized labor has sort of lost its reason for being because of the many laws in place to protect workers.”



About this Author

Miguel Manriquez, Michael Best Friedrich, labor relations attorney, employment negotiations legal counsel, sports licensing lawyer, marketing law, digital media representation

Miguel Manriquez is an attorney in the firm’s Labor & Employment Relations Practice Group.

Labor and Employment Relations Law

Mr. Manriquez assists clients with labor relations, contract negotiations and labor and employment litigation. He has significant experience regarding unfair labor practices, labor negotiations and other labor relations matters.

Sports and Entertainment Law

Mr. Manriquez has served as legal counsel to a...

Robert Mulcahy, Michael Best Law Firm, Private and Public Sector Labor and Employment Attorney

Rob is a skilled negotiator whose practice includes both public and private sector management labor and employment law. His work includes National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proceedings, collective bargaining, contract administration and arbitration proceedings.

Rob also has extensive experience working on employment discrimination matters and wage and hour claims. He helps clients tackle tough issues, including:

  • Union elections and right to work

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Brian Paul, Michael Best Law Firm, Labor and Employment Attorney

Brian brings strategic business vision to his work representing companies engaged in employment-related disputes, both in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies. The focus of Brian’s practice is to deliver positive outcomes in litigation matters, including:

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Farrah Rifelj, Michael Best Law Firm, Labor and Employment Attorney

Farrah serves Michael Best in two capacities: as Deputy General Counsel and as a partner in the Labor and Employment Relations Practice Group. Her practice focuses on employment counseling and employment litigation, with a particular emphasis on discrimination, noncompetition, and Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

Farrah provides management with astute advice on employment topics such as:

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