In the U.S., the movement to increase the minimum wage for hourly-paid workers is seeing results at the state and local levels. This year brought several increases to the California State-wide and local minimum wages:
- California’s state-wide minimum wage increased on July 1, 2014, to $9.00 per hour, with a corresponding increase to the State-wide minimum salary for exempt administrative, executive, and professional employees to $37,440 annually. The minimum wage will increase to $10.00 per hour in 2016, with a corresponding increase to the minimum salary for exempt administrative, executive, and professional employees to $41,600 annually.
- California’s Computer Software Exemption’s minimum salaryincreases effective January 1, 2015, up to $41.27 an hour or $85,981.40 annually, reflecting a 2.2% increase in the California Consumer Price Index.
- Berkeley’s city-wide minimum wage was adopted at $10 an hour effective Oct. 1, 2014. Berkeley’s minimum wage will increase over the next two years on October 1, 2015, to $11 an hour, and on October 1, 2016 to $12.53 an hour.
- Effective January 1, 2015, the new San Francisco minimum wage will increase to $11.05 per hour and then jump again four months later on May 1, 2015 to 12.25 per hour, as the result of a ballot initiative overwhelmingly approved by the voters of San Francisco in November 2014. The minimum wage will continue to increase over the next three years jumping to $13.00 per hour on July 1, 2016, then $14.00 per hour on July 1, 2017, and finally $15.00 on July 1, 2018. After 2018, the hourly wage is subject to an annual increase based on cost of living increases.
- In San Jose, the minimum wage increases to $10.30 per hour on January 1, 2015.
- Effective March 2, 2015, the new Oakland minimum wagewill increase to $12.25 per hour and is then subject to an annual increase based on cost of living increases. The increase in Oakland’s minimum wage is also the result of a ballot initiative overwhelmingly approved by the voters of Oakland in November 2014.
- Effective January 1, 2015, the new Richmond minimum wagewill go into effect at $9.60 per hour. The minimum wage will continue to increase over the next two years jumping to $11.52 per hour in 2016, and $12.30 per hour in 2017.
Meanwhile, the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego are considering whether to raise the wage floor, and several U.S. cities have already passed minimum wage ordinances, including Chicago and Seattle.
Nationwide, on November 4, 2014, voters in four states and one city – Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and San Francisco - approved ballot measures to gradually increase the minimum wage.Michigan had already approved a state-wide minimum wage increase to $8.15 per hour, taking effect on September 1, 2014.Minnesota raised the State’s minimum wage up to $9.50 per hour by 2016. Illinois approved a non-binding measure.
Employers should continue to monitor developments at the state and local levels to ensure compliance with changing minimum wage laws. Many states have adopted increases which are scheduled to take effect later this year and throughout 2015.