In today’s tight labor market, it’s hard to remember that the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour, where it’s been since 2009. Hardly any employers are able to attract and retain employees at that rate, and 30 states have established higher rates, along with some localities. When federal and local/state minimum wages differ, employees must be paid at the higher rate.
It’s important to pay attention to the details. For instance, California’s state rate is $14/hour for employers with fewer than 26 employees and $15 for larger employers, but companies in Palo Alto must pay at least $16.45, in Mountain View the minimum is $17.10, and Santa Clara’s minimum wage level is $16.40 per hour. Seattle’s minimum wage is one of the highest in the country at $17.27 for employers with 501 or more employees and $15.75 per hour for those with 500 or fewer employees (of which $1.52/hour is paid toward the employee’s medical benefits).
Obviously, the cost of living in different parts of the country requires a higher “living wage”, and minimum wage levels reflect that geographic difference. One “living wage calculator” reflects that a single adult living in San Francisco would need $28/hour but only $13.46/hour in Topeka, Kansas (we like that number)!
Unfortunately, in these times of increasing inflation, employers must keep up to date with the cost of living and adjust wages for employees as needed, even above mandated levels. The November 2021 Consumer Price Index reflected a 12-month increase of 6.8%, primarily in the areas of gas, food, and used cars.
|California||$14 for employers with fewer than 26 employees, $15 for larger employers|
|Connecticut||$13.00 (increasing to $14 on July 1, 2022)|
|District of Columbia||$15.20*|
|Florida||$10.00 (increasing to $11.00 on September 30, 2022)|
|Maryland||$12.50 for employers with 15 or more employees and $12.20 for employers with 14 or fewer employees.|
|Minnesota||$10.33 for large employers and $8.42 for small employers, 90-day training for under 20-years-old and youths under 18-years-old|
|Nevada||$9.75 ($8.75 for employees with health benefits)*|
|New York||$13.20 ($15 in New York City, Long Island and Westchester)|
|Oregon||$12.75 ($12 for non-urban counties and $14 for the Portland metro area). These amounts are increasing to $13.50, $12.50 and $14.75, respectively, on July 1, 2022)|
*Indicates no change in state minimum wages.
States that aren’t listed are capped at the $7.25 federal minimum.