Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska, and South Dakota voters have passed minimum wage ballot measures. In all of these states, except for Illinois, the state minimum wage will increase on January 1, 2015.
Alaska’s minimum wage will increase to $8.75 effective January 1, 2015, and to $9.75 effective January 1, 2016. After that, the state minimum wage will be adjusted automatically based on inflation or remain $1 higher than the federal minimum wage, whichever is greater.
In Arkansas, the minimum wage will increase in three steps: to $7.50 an hour effective January 1, 2015, to $8.00 an hour effective January 1, 2016, and to $8.50 an hour effective January 1, 2017.
The nonbinding ballot measure passed by Illinois voters (Minimum Wage Increase Referendum Act) asked whether they support increasing the state minimum wage to $10.00 by January 1, 2015.
Nebraska voters approved raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9.00 per hour by January 1, 2016, in two steps. The state minimum wage will increase to $8.00 per hour on January 1, 2015, then $9.00 per hour on January 1, 2016. Since enacting the Wage and Hour Act in 1967, giving the state the authority to establish a minimum wage, the state’s minimum wage has not been higher than the federal minimum wage, until now.
The minimum wage in South Dakota will increase to $8.50 per hour effective January 1, 2015. In succeeding years, automatic annual increases will be based on inflation.
In addition, voters approved minimum wage ballot initiatives in the cities of San Francisco and Oakland. San Francisco’s minimum wage will increase incrementally from the current minimum wage of $10.74 an hour to $15 an hour by 2018. Oakland’s Measure FF, which passed with 81 percent of the vote, raises the city’s minimum wage from $9.00 an hour to $12.25 an hour starting in March and guarantees five paid sick days a year for workers.
Employers should financially plan ahead to effectuate these mandatory increases.