Michigan Joins Several Other States in Raising Minimum Wage
Michigan became the seventh state to enact a raise in its minimum wage in 2014 after Gov. Rick Snyder (R, left) signed a wage-increase bill into law on May 27.
The state minimum wage will rise incrementally until it reaches $9.25 an hour in 2018. Currently, Michigan’s minimum wage is $7.40, just over the federal minimum wage of $7.25. The first increase, to $8.15 an hour, will take effect on September 1, 2014.
According to the PHI State Data Center, personal care aides (PCAs) and home health aides in Michigan earned median hourly wages of just $9.87 and $9.88, respectively, in 2013. Nursing assistants earned $12.68 an hour on average. The median wage for all Michigan workers was $16.67.
“Tens of thousands of Home Help providers providing Medicaid funded in-home services will get an increase to $8.15 from $8 an hour paid in the vast majority of counties,” said Hollis Turnham, PHI Midwest Director.
PCAs and home health aides are among the fastest-growing occupational groups in Michigan. The number of PCAs is expected to increase 42 percent by the end of the decade, while home health aides are projected to grow 53 percent. An increase in the minimum wage could help to improve starting wages for these positions.
Other New Minimum-Wage Laws
Prior to Michigan’s new law, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, and West Virginia all passed minimum-wage hikes in 2014, as did Washington, DC, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
On June 10, Vermont became the eighth state to enact a minimum-wage increase in this calendar year. Scheduled to reach $10.50 in 2018, Vermont’s new minimum wage would become the highest of any state. (The new minimum-wage law in Washington, DC, however, calls for an $11.50 wage by 2016. On June 3, Seattle passed the country’s highest minimum-wage law at $15 an hour.)
The new laws in Connecticut, Hawaii, and Maryland will raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to raise the national minimum wage to $10.10.
Nationally, the median wage for home health aides was exactly $10.10 in 2013, the PHI State Data Center shows. PCAs, meanwhile, earned a median wage of just $9.67 an hour.
“The minimum wage increases in Michigan and other states are an important step to increasing wages for direct-care workers,” said Tameshia Bridges Mansfield, PHI Midwest Program and Policy Manager.
“They also point to the need for state legislatures to act and increase reimbursement rates so that the wage increases do not compromise access to or quality of services to elders and people with disabilities,” she added.
— by Matthew Ozga