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State Minimum Wages Going Up in 2015

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 11/12/2014
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The current federal minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is $7.25 per hour ($2.13 for tipped employees). Some states, however, have established their own minimum wage, and employees in these states are entitled to whichever minimum wage is higher. Given the existence of multiple minimum wage rates, employers, particularly those operating in more than one state, must know which minimum wage rate (or rates) may apply to their operations.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures:

  • 38 states introduced minimum wage bills and 34 states considered minimum wage increases during the 2014 legislative session.
  • 23 states and D.C. have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage as of August 1, 2014.
  • 18 states have minimum wages that are the same as the federal minimum wage.
  • 3 states have minimum wages below the federal minimum wage, so the federal minimum wage applies.
  • 5 states do not have a state minimum wage.

To complicate matters further, state minimum wage rates tend to change relatively often. In some states, the minimum wage changes every year. For example, on January 1, 2015, the minimum wage will change in the following states:

Arizona                      $8.05 ($7.90 in 2014)

Colorado                    $8.23 ($8.00 in 2014)

Connecticut               $9.15 ($8.70 in 2014)

Florida                        $8.05 ($7.93 in 2014)

Massachusetts          $9.00 ($8.00 in 2014)

Missouri                     $7.65 ($7.50 in 2014)

Montana                     $8.05 ($7.90 in 2014)

New Jersey                $8.38 ($8.25 in 2014)

Ohio                            $8.10 ($7.95 in 2014)

Oregon                       $9.25 ($9.10 in 2014)

Washington               $9.47 ($9.32 in 2014)

Like the FLSA, state laws may also provide a different minimum wage for tipped employees. Florida, for example, provides a specific rate ($5.03 per hour in 2015). In Arizona, the minimum wage for tipped employees is $3.00 less than the minimum wage ($5.05 per hour in 2015).

Though many state laws may be similar to the FLSA, do not assume that they are identical. To avoid costly violations, employers must identify the specific requirements for each state’s wage and hour laws that may be applicable. To limit the risk, employers should implement a training program and explore their options for insuring against wage and hour claims.

Additional information about various employment related liabilities, including wage and hour law, is available in The Human Equation’s library of Human Resources online courses. If you have any questions, please contact us.

The Human Equation prepares all risk management and insurance content with the professional guidance of Setnor Byer Insurance and Risk.

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Categories: 2014, Human Resources

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