California Raises Minimum Wage Rate To $10 Per Hour. Will Other States Follow?

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Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law legislation that will raise the state’s minimum wage to $9 per hour by July 1, 2014 and to $10 per hour by January 1, 2016.  Once the $10 per hour rate goes into effect, it will be the highest minimum wage rate in the country, taking over that mantle from Washington (currently $9.19 per hour).  Other states to raise their minimum wages this year include New York ($9 per hour by January 1, 2015) and Connecticut ($8.70 per hour by January 1, 2014).  Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and other states are considering increasing their minimum wage rates.  Currently, 41 states have minimum wages rates that are equal to or greater than the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour.  Four states have minimum wage rates that are below the federal minimum wage rate, including Georgia and Wyoming ($5.15 per hour). Five states (Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Louisiana) do not have any minimum wage requirements.  Whenever a state lacks a minimum wage law or its requirements fall below the federal minimum wage rate, it must comply with the federal minimum wage rate provided that the employer is covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.  However, if the state minimum wage rate is higher than the federal minimum wage rate, the state minimum wage rate applies.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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