Minimum wage increases have been a hot topic and are widely debated. Because the federal government is not increasing the flat minimum wage, many states have decided to take it into their own hands to make it more affordable for the people living there.
Let’s look at some of the increases made in 2023 and how they have helped.
What Do Minimum Wages Look Like Currently?
With the new year here, one of the biggest changes throughout the United States is the fight for a more livable wage. Twenty-three states plus Washington D.C. have made small steps towards providing a fair wage to all workers. Meanwhile, the federal minimum wage hasn’t increased from $7.25 since 2009 for standard employees and since 1991 for tipped employees, who get $2.13 an hour according to federal laws.
However, there are two states, Georgia and Wyoming, which have bypassed the minimum wage rules and have set their minimum wage at $5.15 unless the employers are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act.
According to records, there are three reasons why minimum wages are increasing, depending on the state. Some are ballot measures, such as Florida, Nebraska, Missouri, and Washington, D.C.
For some other states, such as Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Massachusetts, and New Mexico, it’s legislation. However, for the most part, the states that are increasing their minimum wage are doing so to adjust to inflation.
What Are Wages Increasing To?
Every state has different wages. While some stick to the federal minimum wage, others have increased it to make the cost of living more reasonable. So, depending on the state, you can expect to get paid anywhere from $2.13 to $16.10 an hour.
A few states have plans to increase their wages this year and continue increasing them until they hit a $15 minimum wage. For the states that have chosen to go this route, they will hit the $15 wage by 2026 at the latest. These states include Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Virginia.
Is it Just Standard Wages That Are Increasing?
In addition to increasing the standard minimum wage, some states, such as Arizona, also plan to increase their tipped minimum wage. Arizona’s tipped minimum wage is already higher than the federal wage, at $9.80. But in 2023, it will increase again by $1.05, which is the same increase as for the standard wage. This will put Arizona’s standard minimum wage at $10.85.
However, many states are not offering such great rates. They may increase the tipping wage by only a few cents or none at all, even as their standard minimum wage increases.
Which State Increased the Most This Year?
The state that increased the minimum wage the most this year, thanks to a ballot measure, was Nebraska. It increased the wage by $1.50 this year and will continue until it hits $15 an hour in 2026. That makes the current minimum wage for the state $10.50 an hour.
However, in states where the cost of living is increasing much more than in the last few years, the minimum wage has also gone up by a pretty big bump. Some of these states are Alaska, Colorado, New Jersey, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, and California.
Which State Has the Highest Minimum Wage?
Washington, D.C., while technically not a state, and Washington state are the top two places with the highest minimum wage. Washington, D.C. offers a minimum wage of $16.10 an hour, while Washington state has gone up to $15.74 this year.
Washington, D.C. was also one of the areas eliminating tipped wages, so over the next couple of years, it will increase from $5.35 an hour to the current statewide minimum wage of $16.10 an hour.
With the extra money coming in this year, you may be interested in taking a much-needed vacation. However, you may want to avoid airplanes, which are increasing prices, and look at a more comfortable and affordable way to travel in style. For example, look at a Washington DC car service to get you around so you can feel like you are living in luxury.
What Does a Minimum Wage Increase Mean for Everyone Else?
Unfortunately, minimum wage increases only affect those currently being paid at that level. Salaried employees and those making above minimum wage will not see their pay rates change except at their employer’s discretion.
This causes a lot of frustration for people who have worked hard to get raises, only to see they are now making the same amount of money as a new employee. While many agree that the minimum wage needs to be increased to make living affordable again for most of the population, that doesn’t mean that the rest of Americans should be hurt.
Many argue that something else must be done to reward those who have been working hard and who now have nothing to show for their wage increases. However, nothing has yet been decided or planned.
Is it Enough?
Now that minimum wages are increasing, some may think they can now make enough to survive. However, in May of 2022, studies showed that most families consisting of two children and two adults do not make enough to survive on minimum wage.
In fact, according to calculations, both adults would need to work more than two jobs, around 98 hours each per week, to afford the cost of living and to meet basic needs. A single parent with two children working federal minimum wage would need to work just under six full-time jobs to afford the basics.