Minimum Wages Go Up in 14 States in 2016

     (CN) – Fourteen states will ring in the New Year by raising the minimum wage because of inflation and various initiatives.
     Colorado and South Dakota’s minimum-wage workers will get an automatic cost-of-living increase tied to the inflation rate.
     Increases in the other 12 states – Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia – were initiated by voters or legislators.
     Minimum-wage workers in Maryland, Minnesota and the District of Columbia will also receive pay increases, but they’ll have to wait until next summer.
     Workers on certain federal contracts will also receive a minimum wage increase of five cents, to $10.15 per hour. President Barack Obama effected this change when he signed an executive order in 2014, and the slight increase is due to annual inflation adjustment.
     California and Massachusetts will be the first states in the country to have a $10 minimum wage.
     According to U.S. Department of Labor Chief Economist Heidi Shierholz, a federal minimum-wage increase to $12 by 2020 would benefit 35 million people and lift 2 million out of poverty.
     “Raising the national minimum wage would be good for families, with millions no longer needing food assistance and 23 percent of all children seeing at least one parent get a raise,” she stated.
     Shierholz said she applauds public officials and voters across the country who have taken action to raise minimum wages.
     “This January, the workers who are seeing a raise are a step closer to getting a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,” Shierholz said.

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