Wage increase for minimum-wage earners take effect as of January 1 in several areas across the US.
Measures increasing the minimum wage took effect this New Year’s Day in some 22 states across the nation, and an estimated 4.4 million low-wage earners will see their paychecks a little larger for the first pay period of 2017.
The amount of the increases range from as little as five cents per hour in Alaska, Florida, Missouri, and Ohio, to $1.95 per hour in Arizona, part of an overall increase to $12 by 2020, although the move being challenged in the courts by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.
The moves by the states, along with similar acts in a number of cities across the US, does not impact the Federal Minimum Wage, which remains constant at $7.25 per hour, established in 2009.
Advocates across the country are calling for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, but the Obama administration has proposed a raise to $10.10. President-Elect Trump’s choice for Secretary of Labor, Andrew F. Puzder, is expected to oppose even that amount as the new administration takes office later this month.
Seventy percent of the states saw the increases in minimum wage as a result of ballot measures, including the states of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and the District of Columbia.
Low-wage earners in the states of Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Vermont saw their legislatures enact measures to raise the minimum wage in their states.
Proponents of a higher minimum wage are celebrating even the small increases, calling them a step in the right direction. They claim that when low-wage earners are facing financial difficulties and having troubles paying for food and electricity, any amount will help, though they wish it were more.
Opponents say the measures will likely cause loss of jobs and business failures in industries that depend of minimum wage earners for their employment pool. they also predict higher costs to consumers as the measures add to the bottom line of companies such as the fast-food industry.
Still, minimum wage earners in several areas of the nation woke up in 2017 making just a little more than in 2016.