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In a first-of-its-kind development, the Oregon legislature passed and the Governor will sign into law a minimum wage hike law that will go into effect July 1, 2016. Under the new law, the rates will steadily increase through 2023, eventually giving Oregon the highest minimum wage rates in the nation.

Recently, bills addressing localities’ ability to enact paid sick leave and minimum wage laws (and possibly any local laws governing private employment) were introduced in each chamber of the New Jersey Legislature. The bills, A.B. 4363 and S.B. 2865, would prohibit cities, counties, and other local entities from increasing the minimum wage or adopting mandatory paid sick leave requirements for private employers.

The legislation, if enacted ...

After a January 1st increase of 15 cents per hour, Oregon’s minimum wage now stands at $9.25 – exactly two dollars per hour more than the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour. That places Oregon near the top of the list of 29 states with minimum wage rates higher than the federal rate. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only Washington and the District of Columbia have minimum wage rates higher than Oregon at $9.47 and $9.50 respectively.

The Colorado minimum wage increased by 23 cents to $8.23 per hour on January 1, 2015. Tipped employees are entitled to receive at least $5.21 per hour. These increases to Colorado’s minimum wage rates reflect the annual adjustment for inflation required by the Colorado Constitution.

Beginning January 1, 2015, the minimum wage in New Jersey is $8.38 per hour, up from $8.25 per hour. This pay hike is the result of the November 2013 voter-approved state constitutional amendment that requires that New Jersey’s minimum wage be adjusted annually to reflect any percentage increase of the consumer price index for all urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W) for the prior year. Because the CPI-W increased by 1.59 percent from August 2013 to August 2014, the state minimum wage for 2015 was raised by 1.59 percent, or thirteen cents per hour.

Minimum wage workers in Ohio will see their hourly pay increase by 15 cents in 2015. Effective January 1st, the Ohio minimum wage rate increased from $7.95 to $8.10 per hour. The minimum wage rate for tipped employees is one-half that, or $4.05 per hour. The increased rates are due to the annual adjustment for inflation required by the Ohio Constitution.

On January 1, 2015, the Massachusetts minimum wage increased from $8.00 to $9.00 per hour. This is the first of three annual minimum wage rate hikes that Massachusetts employers will face due to legislation signed into law last June.

On January 1, 2015, the minimum wage for employees working in Florida rises to $8.05 per hour. This represents an hourly increase of $0.12 over the current Florida minimum wage. The increase is tied to the rate of inflation over the prior year.

On January 1, 2015, the Missouri minimum wage will increase from $7.50 to $7.65 per hour and from $3.75 to $3.825 per hour for tipped employees. Compensation for tipped employees must total at least $7.65 per hour when tips are calculated. The Missouri minimum wage law governs Missouri businesses except retail and service businesses whose annual gross sales are less than $500,000.

As previously discussed on this blog, in recent months many state and local governments have aggressively moved to raise the minimum wage. The City of Seattle joined these ranks on Monday when its city counsel unanimously approved an ordinance raising the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour, the highest for any metropolis in the country. The minimum wage increase in Seattle will be phased over differing lengths of time depending on the size and type of the employer. For employers with less than 500 employees the minimum wage increase will be phased in over the next seven years, while for larger businesses and franchises the increase will be phased in over the next three years; for those businesses and franchises falling into the latter group that also offer health insurance this phasing in process will be extended to four years. The ordinance also includes an exception that allows employers to pay a lower training wage to teenagers.

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