Foodservice Equipment Reports

New Year, New Minimum Wage In 14 States

After six years of the federal minimum wage holding steady at $7.25 an hour, 14 states and several cities are moving forward in 2016 with increases to their minimum wage. Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia saw wage increases take effect January 1.

California and Massachusetts, which already pay among the highest hourly wages among the states, both saw increases of $9 to $10 an hour. An analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures found Arkansas at the low end; its minimum wage is increasing from $7.50 to $8. The smallest increase—a nickel—comes in South Dakota, where the hourly minimum is now $8.55.

The increases arrive after a series of “living wage” protests across the country, including a November event which saw thousands of protesters in 270 cities march in support of a $15-an-hour minimum wage and union rights for QSR workers. Foodservice employees make up the largest group of minimum-wage earners, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Cities are ramping up wages even higher: Last week, Seattle’s sliding hourly minimum between $10.50 and $13 kicked in, and Los Angeles and San Francisco are enacting similar increases in July, the initial steps in a six-year phase-in to $15 an hour.

Currently, 29 states plus the District of Columbia and about two dozen cities and counties have their minimum wage at levels higher than the federal minimum.

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