Four New England states have raised their minimum wage as of New Year’s Day – Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont.  Effective January 1, 2016, the minimum wage in Massachusetts and Vermont is now $10 per hour.  The minimum wage in Connecticut and Rhode Island likewise increased and is now $9.60 per hour.  In accordance with previously enacted legislation, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont have scheduled additional increases to take effect next year.  In 2017, the minimum wage in Massachusetts will increase to $11 per hour, in Vermont it will increase to $10.50 per hour, and in Connecticut it will increase to $10.10 per hour.  Rhode Island has not yet enacted legislation addressing the state minimum wage in 2017; however, given the increases that will take effect in neighboring states, Rhode Island will likely increase its minimum wage as well in order to remain competitive in the region.   

At least for now, the federal minimum wage remains $7.25 per hour. 

Ten other states likewise increased their minimum wage on Friday – Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, South Dakota, and West Virginia.  Several other states will increase their minimum wage later in 2016.  Of these, Massachusetts and California are the first states in the country to pass the ten-dollar mark.