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Raising the Minimum Wage: State Laws and Legislation
Progressive States Network’s Economic Security Working Group of State Legislators (ESWG) provides research, polling, policy and everything else legislators need to champion pro-worker policies. Below you will find information on raising the minimum wage, for the full toolkit, join the ESWG here.
Just interested in legislation? Scroll to the bottom of this page to find legislation from states that have strong wage-related laws.
Why is raising the minimum wage a critical issue for Working Families?
An average family with two kids supported by a full-time minimum wage worker makes $7,000 below the federal poverty line. At $7.25 an hour, parents would need to work 155 hours a week to meet the family’s most basic needs like food, shelter, and healthcare.
In today’s economy, the minimum wage would need to be $10.55 an hour to have kept pace with inflation since 1968. As the business economy improves, working Americans are being left behind with stagnant wages and increasing costs. Giant corporations that employ the majority of low-wage workers have fully recovered from the Great Recession and are even making record profits, but they still refuse to pay their workers a living wage. Big Business has gone so far as to recommend enrollment in state and federal assistance programs for their low-wage workers, knowing that they don’t pay workers enough to afford the basics of healthcare and groceries.
As the nation looks to rise out of an economic downturn, the failure to maintain a livable minimum wage presents a looming crisis. Studies consistently show that raising the minimum wage is an essential part of rebuilding America’s working class. When the minimum wage is raised, workers can invest more in local businesses and rely less on government subsidies.
Bills and Laws from States Working to Raise the Minimum Wage
- Raise the Minimum Wage Bill: Vermont passed legislation in 2014 to raise its minimum wage to the highest in the nation at $10.50/hour in 2018. Vermont’s minimum wage was already indexed to inflation.
- Prevailing Wage Laws: New Jersey Law covering building service workers and Illinois Procurement Code covering range of service workers under state prevailing wage standards.
- Living Wage Laws: Potential Living Wage Legislation
- Other Wage Enforcement: California's Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act, California Sweatshop Accountability Law, NY Bus. Corp. Law holding large shareholders liable for wage claims, and Laws Preventing Independent Contractor Misclassification