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Many minimum wage increases coming nationwide next year

12/27/2016

Many minimum wage increases coming nationwide next year

Across the country there has been a strong fight for higher minimum wages, carried out on numerous fronts. These significant efforts are paying off for workers in many states, as 21 of them are poised to raise their minimum wages at various points in 2017.

On Jan. 1, a number of states will institute their new higher minimum wages, including Massachusetts and Washington, both of which will set their new minimums at $11 per hour, according to a report from UPI. Others - such Arizona, California, Connecticut and Vermont - will bump their minimums to at least $10 per hour. Oregon and Maryland will follow suit in July, bumping to $10.25 and $9.25, respectively.

Other changes
Some cities across the country will likewise raise their minimum wages, including the California cities of Sacramento, Mountain View, and Sunnydale, the report said. Further, the state of New York will change its minimum wage, but on more of a sliding scale - the new minimum will be at least $9.50 statewide, but could be as high as $10.50 per hour depending upon the size of the employer and the region in which the business is located.

However, there has been no change in the federal minimum wage - stalled at just $7.25 per hour since 2009 - and it doesn't seem as though that's going to change in the year ahead, the report said.

Is a higher federal minimum an eventuality?
With Republicans about to gain more power in the federal government, some experts don't expect much movement for the federal minimum wage any time soon, but others believe that there's no ignoring how the current level has been affected by rising inflation in the past seven years, according to a report from The Week. Meanwhile, Democrats seem to have landed hard on the Fight for $15 side of things, advocating the current minimum wage be more than doubled, and will likely put a lot of pressure on the other side of the aisle.

Plenty of data suggests the public at large also generally advocates for a significant increase in the minimum wage, so that too may help to push legislation forward, the report said.

However, individual business executives - including those in warehouse staffing - may do well to make sure they're getting way out in front of state or federal minimum wage changes, and instead offering industry workers the best possible combination of wages and benefits they can.