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For many years people have been saying “A new year, a new me.” Twenty states and dozens of localities have embraced this saying by raising their state’s minimum wages for the year 2021. Some states will see a major increase others just a little bit.
People living in the state of New Mexico will see an increase of $1.50 in their minimum wage. This brings New Mexico’s state minimum wage to $10.50 an hour. States that increased their minimum wages by a dollar are California, Arkansas, New Jersey, and Illinois.
South Dakota, Maine, and Alaska increased their states’ minimum wage by 15 cents. For residents in Maine, this brings their minimum wage to $12.15 an hour. Starting January 1 Maine also started a new law that entitles all employees with one hour of paid time for every 40 hours worked. This entitlement max’s out at 40 hours a year.
Other states have plans to increase their minimum wages later on this year. Most of these states will have their minimum wages increase by July 1. People who work in low-income jobs have relatively lived with stagnant wages for decades.
Inflation has made it incredibly difficult for the working class to rise above poverty. Many people feel like the increases in the minimum wages will help decrease poverty. It will help most of the vulnerable workers get a leg up in the world.
A research associate at The Urban Institute, Daniel Kuehn, stated “Minimum wage increases income levels, reduces poverty, so I think it’s pretty clear that it improves conditions in the lower end of the wage distribution.”
Some localities are also increasing minimum wages. Flagstaff, Arizona, and Burlingame, California will see a wage raise from $13 an hour to $15. In some municipalities, the minimum wage increase will be dependent on the size of the business.
For example Hayward, California will see a similar pay raise as Burlingame. However, businesses that employ 25 people or less will be required to raise wages from $12 to $14. The varying minimum wages allow governments to account for different cost-of-living conditions across all localities.
People living in the states that have raised minimum wages — or will be soon — are looking forward to a slightly bigger paycheck. However, on that same note, many are fearful the government in these states will just increase the cost of living — Thus nullifying the increase in wages.
Written by Sheena Robertson
The Hill: Twenty states raise minimum wage at start of new year; by Niv Elis
CBS13: New year, new laws: A look at what laws go into effect in Maine on Jan. 1; by WGME
Featured Image Courtesy of Derek Hatfield’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Melody Ann Crespo’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License