10 Best States in America for Minimum Wage Workers

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

What should the minimum wage be in the world’s largest economy? The answer depends on whom you ask. One conviction is that the land of capitalism doesn’t need a minimum wage and the chips will fall where they are suited best. Conversely, the other side says there should always be a bare minimum value on labor.

The minimum wage has been spurring economic debate for decades. President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938 and established the floor on wages at $0.25 per hour. Today, federal law sets the hourly minimum wage for most workers at $7.25, where it has stood since 2009 amid Congressional gridlock. More recently though, some states have taken matters into their own hands.

A record number of states are leaving the federal minimum wage behind. Twenty-nine states, plus the District of Columbia, have set their minimum wage above the federal level of $7.25 per hour, according to RaisetheMinimumWage.com, a project of the National Employment Law Project that is committed to rebuilding the wage floor for low-wage workers in the United States. Furthermore, 15 states along with the nation’s capitol index their minimum wages to rise automatically with the cost of living, with 10 states currently indexing raises each year.

The project notes, “ … Indexing is a simple, sensible, and effective tool to combat wage stagnation and income inequality. Employers will also be better served by incremental and predictable wage increases each year. As with all other costs of doing business that increase from year to year, when an employer can plan for them, she can absorb them better by making strategic choices about costs and pricing, rather than having to absorb larger, unpredictable increases for a number of years after congressional action.”

Let’s take a look at the 10 states (and Washington, D.C.) with the highest minimum wages in 2015.

New York (tied)

2015 Minimum Wage: $8.75

Alaska (tied)

2015 Minimum Wage: $8.75

Rhode Island (tied)

2015 Minimum Wage: $9.00

Minnesota (tied)

2015 Minimum Wage: $9.00

Massachusetts (tied)

2015 Minimum Wage: $9.00

California (tied)

2015 Minimum Wage: $9.00

Vermont (tied)

2015 Minimum Wage: $9.15

Connecticut (tied)

2015 Minimum Wage: $9.15

Oregon

2015 Minimum Wage: $9.25

Washington

2015 Minimum Wage: $9.47

Washington, D.C.

2015 Minimum Wage: $10.50

 

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