$15 Minimum Wage To Take Effect In 14 States For The New Year, Could Spread Nationwide

The lowest earners in the United States have been fighting for minimum wage increases for quite some time. Fast-food workers in numerous states have arranged demonstrations, protests, and political rallies in hopes of forcing legislators to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Now, it appears many fast-food workers and low-wage earners are definitely anticipating the new year because they’ll be ringing it in with a pay raise.

According to USA Today, 14 states are projected to raise the pay for those earning minimum wage. According to a financial research and analysis report released by Yannet Lathrop of the National Employment Law Project, the increases will range from “a nickel an hour in South Dakota to a full dollar in California and Massachusetts,” according to the Huffington Post. The states with higher increases will be the first in the United States to have a $10/hour minimum wage floor. It has also been reported that New York and West Virginia will be raising their minimum wage on New Year’s Eve as opposed to New Year’s Day which is the first day of the year.

The map highlights all states that will see minimum wage increases in 2016. The states highlighted in dark green will see increases on Jan. 1 and the other states in light green will see increases later in the year. [Image via National Employment Law Project]

By 2018, New York’s wage board plans to increase all fast food workers’ minimum wage to $15 an hour. The increases will be phased-in over the next two years, with incremental pay raises.

The list below shows the minimum wage increases that will be implemented in each of the 14 states by New Year’s Day:

  • Alaska: $8.75 to $9.75
  • Arkansas: $7.50 to $8.00
  • California: $9.00 to $10.00
  • Colorado: $8.23 to $8.31
  • Connecticut: $9.15 to $9.60
  • Hawaii: $7.75 to $8.50
  • Massachusetts: $9.00 to $10.00
  • Michigan: $8.15 to $8.50
  • Nebraska: $8.00 to $9.00
  • New York: $8.75 to $9.00*
  • Rhode Island: $9.00 to $9.60
  • South Dakota: $8.50 to $8.55
  • Vermont: $9.15 to $9.60
  • West Virginia: $8.00 to $8.75*

The demands for higher minimum wage could actually gain momentum in other states as early as January. Five additional states and nine cities are already expected to review similar proposals and take the idea into consideration through legislation throughout the first quarter of the year, according to WTSP.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Workers who have fought for a raise in the minimum wage celebrate at a political rally where U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced their support to raise the minimum wage for the state of New York to $15 per hour on September 10, 2015 in New York City. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden also said he would like to see the federal minimum wage risen to $12 per hour. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Now,that many workers have gained the attention of legislators and positive results are evident, more demonstrations will probably take place as others will make more efforts to push for the same wages. “People…have neighbors and families making very little money even though they’re working very hard,” says Yannet Lathrop, a NELP policy analyst and researcher. “These workers have to depend on public assistance.”

The latest minimum wage increases follow numerous one-day strikes by frustrated fast-food workers and other low-wage earners who are tired of working hard for very little return. Back in November, low wage workers made headlines in Chicago, IL and Southfield, MI when they protested for $15 minimum wage and the establishment of a union.

<> on July 22, 2015 in New York City.

Although federal minimum wage hasn’t budged since 2009 when it was increased to $7.25, many cities and counties have been making gratuitous strides to expeditiously raise the minimum wage. Approximately 30 states with nearly 60 percent of the United States workforce pay higher minimum wages than the federal limit.

Do you think fast-food workers and other low-wage earners should be paid $15 an hour for minimum wage? Share your thoughts.

[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]