HR Management & Compliance

Election means at least four more states will see higher minimum wages in 2015

by Tammy Binford

Voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota said yes to increasing their states’ minimum wages as they cast their ballots November 4. Illinois voters said the same thing in a nonbinding vote.

Here’s a look at the new state minimum wages, according to Ballotpedia:

  • Alaska: The state minimum wage will rise from $7.75 to $8.75 per hour on January 1, 2015. The rate will rise to $9.75 on January 1, 2016. After that, the minimum wage will be adjusted for inflation annually and will remain at least $1 higher than the federal minimum wage.
  • Arkansas: The minimum wage will increase from $6.25 to $7.50 per hour on January 1, 2015; to $8 on January 1, 2016; and to $8.50 on January 1, 2017.
  • Nebraska: The rate will rise from $7.25 to $8 on January 1, 2015, and to $9 on January 1, 2016.
  • South Dakota: The minimum wage will rise from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour on January 1, 2015. It will be adjusted for inflation annually.
  • Illinois: Voters said they favor raising the minimum wage from $8.25 to $10 by January 1, 2015. The nonbinding vote doesn’t raise the state’s minimum wage. Instead, it sends a message to the Illinois Legislature.

All states that voted on minimum wage increases already have or soon will have rates that are higher than the federal minimum wage, which stands at $7.25 per hour. President Barack Obama and various groups have called for a federal minimum wage of $10.10 per hour, but those efforts have stalled.

Currently, 23 states and Washington, D.C., have passed minimum wages that are higher than the federal rate, according to the Urban Institute’s State Economic Monitor report. The report says that just this year—before the November 4 votes in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Illinois—10 states and Washington, D.C., have passed increases that will go into effect next year.