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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Many States Look to Raise Minimum Wage

The trend to raise minimum wages will ultimately raise workers' compensation rates and premiums. It is a necessary item to maintain a productive and healthy workforce,Today's post was shared by Steven Greenhouse and comes from

California’s recent decision to raise its minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016—a higher minimum rate than any other state has now—may add momentum to the drive for higher hourly rates in at least eight other states in 2014.

New Jersey could become the fifth state this year to increase its state minimum wage if voters approve a measure on Nov. 5 that would boost the hourly rate by $1, to $8.25.

In states as varied as Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts and South Dakota, advocates are pushing to put minimum wage hikes on state ballots in 2014. Meanwhile, elected officials are leading the charge in Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia.

The action at the state level comes as organized labor and liberal groups have backed a wave of strikes by fast-food workers in cities across the country to put a spotlight on hourly wages.  Advocates are pressing for a national $15 hourly wage, more than twice the $7.25 federal minimum wage.

States cannot set a minimum wage that is lower than the federal standard, but they are free to establish a higher one. Washington state currently has the highest state minimum wage at $9.19; followed by Oregon ($8.95) and Vermont ($8.60). Connecticut, the District of Columbia and Illinois all have a state minimum of $8.25. In addition, some 120 cities have enacted “living wages” that set a minimum standard for businesses that receive city contracts. City minimums range from $9 to $16 an hour.
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