Minimum Wage Increases Nationally & Paid Sick Leave Trends

January 4, 2016

Minimum Wage Increases
January 1st saw the minimum wage increase in 14 states: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia. This summer will see minimum wage increases in D.C., Maryland, and Minnesota. Several municipal rates are set to increase during 2016, including Berkley, Emeryville, Richmond, San Francisco, Louisville, Seattle, and Tacoma.

The push for $15 minimum wage has been in the news. While it has been getting a lot of press, almost all the action here has been on the municipal level and almost every proposal and planned increase the move to a $15 minimum wage is an incremental process spanning several years.

Cities with a planned $15 minimum wage include D.C. (by 2020), Los Angeles (by 2020), San Francisco (by 2018), and Seattle (by 2017 for businesses with at least 500 U.S. employees and by 2021 for others). In New York City, fast food workers at chains with at least 30 locations will receive a minimum wage of $15 (by 2018) and the state of New York will have its own $15 minimum wage for fast food workers (by 2021).

Paid Sick Leave Trends
At the start of 2016, Oregon joined Connecticut, California, and Massachusetts in implementing paid sick leave laws on a state level. Additionally, the number of municipalities with local sick leave laws continues to grow.

Across these states and municipalities, the details of the laws differ. For example, the amount of time for sick leave varies—24 hours or three days in California to 40 hours in Massachusetts and Oregon to 72 hours in several municipalities in California. In Massachusetts and Oregon, smaller employers can offer unpaid leave instead of paid time, while in California, employers of any size must offer paid leave.

Legislation has been introduced in many other states. We’ll have to wait and see whether any of these efforts result in new paid sick leave laws, but we can expect the effort will be made in many states and municipalities.