Minimum Wage Increases Take Effect in 14 States
Fourteen states raised their minimum wages on January 1, with two more states as well as Washington, DC, scheduled to institute similar raises later in 2016. For direct-care workers, who often earn low wages, these increases can have a significant impact.
States raising their wages Jan. 1 include three of the 10 largest states by population (California, New York, and Michigan). Two of the states — California and Massachusetts — now have minimum wages of $10/hour, the first states to reach that mark.
By the end of the year, 31 states (and Washington, DC) will have minimum wages higher than the federally set level of $7.25, writes Heidi Shierholz, the chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), in a blog post on the DOL website.
Despite being eligible for the federal minimum wage as of Jan. 1, home care workers will not universally benefit from state minimum wage increases. Some states still specifically exempt these workers from the state minimum wage if it is higher than the federal rate.
Among the 14 states that have raised their minimum wages on Jan. 1, home care workers will be eligible for increases in nine of them.
Alaska, Arkansas, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia continue to exclude home care workers from their state minimum wage protections.
— by Matthew Ozga