So far in 2013, ten states increased their minimum wage requirements. Around a million people working minimum wage jobs in these states saw increases that ranged from ten cents to 35 cents an hour. In May, Congress enacted a minimum wage increase that pushed the figure up to $7.25 an hour over two years. But 17 states are going above and beyond the federal requirements.
Washington state pushed its minimum wage up to $9.19 an hour, which is nearly $2 more than its neighbor, Idaho. While some argue that this may encourage businesses to hop the border in order to spend less on payroll, a research team found that increasing minimum wage had no relation to employment. In fact, some studies show it may actually help by reducing employee turnover.
Next to Washington, Oregon offers the highest minimum wage. Workers there earn $8.95 an hour, which is 15 cents higher than 2012. The increase impacted an estimated 96,000 workers according to Oregonlive.com.
Workers in Vermont earn $8.60 an hour for minimum wage. In Vermont minimum wage increases every January 1 according to state law. It receives an annual boost of five percent or the percentage increase of the Consumer Price Index.
Nevada is one of three states that pays workers a minimum of $8.25 an hour. However, if an employer offers health benefits then they can opt to pay a lower minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
Illinois pays the highest minimum wage of any Midwestern state. Workers 18 years of age and older earn $8.25 an hour. Younger workers can earn $.50 less an hour.
Connecticut workers also receive a minimum wage of $8.25. The rate automatically increases to a half of a percent above the federal minimum wage. Many legislators are pushing for an even bigger increase. They'd like to see minimum wage reach $9.75 an hour by 2014.
By Alison Storm
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