Nearly half of the U.S. population is expected to see an increase in statewide minimum wages in 2019, according to payroll experts at Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S.
A total of 22 states and the District of Columbia will raise the minimum wage in 2019, with 19 of those states already implementing increases on Jan. 1.
“While it isn’t unusual for there to be minimum wage rate increases in January, there is a growing trend to increase wages in response to calls for making sure the minimum wage is a living wage,” said Barbara O’Dell, Wolters Kluwer employment law analyst. “The incremental wage increases, including in California and Washington, which are moving minimum wages toward a final goal of $15 per hour, are an example of how states are trying to address this issue.”
Experts say the increases indicate a move toward ensuring a living wage for citizens across several states.
D.C. currently has the highest minimum wage at $13.25 per hour, followed by Massachusetts and Washington each at $12 per hour, the report says.
The District’s minimum wage is scheduled to increase to $14 on July 1. Under the Fair Shot Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2016, the minimum wage will reach $15 per hour by 2020. Wages for tipped workers will also increase, eventually reaching $5 per hour by 2020.
Starting in 2021 both wage rates will be adjusted based on inflation, the Wolters report said. A few states’ wages remain on the lower end of the spectrum, with some state minimums coming in below the federal wage rate, and others with a slower incremental increase.
“The lowest minimum wage rates are at $5.15 and they are in Georgia and Wyoming,” O’Dell said. “However, most employers and employees would be subject to the higher federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour. In Michigan, although the wage is technically rising in 2019, the state recently passed legislation to slow the incremental increase over the next decade.”