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Minimum wage increases in 20 states and numerous cities



JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri –

At Granny Shaffer's restaurant in Joplin, Missouri, owner Mike Wiggins reprints the menus to reflect the 5, 10, or 20 cents added to each item.

A breakfast with two eggs costs an extra cent for $ 7.39. The price for a three-piece fried chicken meal increases by 20 cents to $ 8.78. The reason: Missouri's minimum wage rises.

Wiggins said the price increases were necessary to offset an estimated $ 10,000 to $ 12,000 in additional annual compensation for its employees following a new minimum wage law that will come into effect on Tuesday.

"It's easy for us, there's not a lot of money to get the money out of the required pay increases," Wiggins said.

New minimum wage requirements will come into force in 20 states and nearly two dozen cities at the beginning of the new year, affecting millions of workers. Government salary increases range from one additional nickel per hour in Alaska to one dollar per hour in Maine, Massachusetts, and for Californian employers with more than 25 employees.

Seattle's largest employers must pay workers at least $ 1

6 an hour from Tuesday. In New York City, many businesses will pay at least $ 15 an hour from Monday. That's more than twice the federal minimum of $ 7.25 an hour.

A variety of other new state laws also come into force on Tuesday. These include revisions to the #Metoo movement's sexual harassment, restrictions on selling weapons after deadly mass shootings, and revised criminal sanctions as officials rebalance the balance between punishment and rehabilitation.

The state and local pay laws come in year after year through unions and liberal advocacy groups to raise the minimum wage nationwide to $ 15 an hour. There are few, but many states have increased their wages through graduated laws and inflation adjustments.

In Arkansas and Missouri, voters approved electoral initiatives this fall to raise the minimum wage after the state legislature failed to do so. In Missouri, the minimum wage on Tuesday will increase from $ 7.85 to $ 8.60 per hour as the first of five annual increases will increase to $ 12 per hour by 2023.

At Granny Shafffer's in Joplin, waitress Shawna Green will see her base pay but she has mixed feelings about it.

"We will have regulars, and they will notice, and they will alert us as if it were our fault and our actions," she said. "They're going to miss something, and that's usually their tips, or they do not come so often."

Economic studies on raising the minimum wage have shown that some workers benefit, while others may reduce working hours. Companies may put more emphasis on experienced workers, making it harder for newcomers to find a job.

Seattle, the fastest-growing city in the US, heads the movement for higher minimum wages. A local ordinance increased the minimum wage in 2015 to $ 11 an hour and then $ 13 in 2016, depending on the size of the employer and whether he had taken out health insurance.

A number of studies from the University of Washington have produced conclusions that have grown from this.

In May, researchers found that Seattle's initial rise to $ 11 per hour had a negligible effect on employment, but the increase to $ 13 per hour resulted in a "sharp decline in employment". They said the higher minimum wage led to a 6.9 percent reduction in working hours for those earning less than $ 19 per hour, resulting in a net paycheck reduction.

In October, however, these researchers came to a conflicting conclusion. They said that workers employed at low wages in Seattle saw a marginal reduction in hours worked after the minimum wage had been increased, but they saw a net increase in average pre-tax income of $ 10 per week. This gain generally went to those who had worked longer, while those who worked less had no significant change in their total income.

Both advocates and opponents of higher minimum wages have referred to the Seattle studies.

The nationwide minimum wage was last raised in 2009. Since then, 29 states, the District of Columbia and dozens of other cities and counties have set minimum wages above the federal level. Some have repeatedly raised their interest rates.

"The federal minimum wage has really become irrelevant," said Michael Saltsman, executive director of the Employment Policies Institute, a Washington, DC-based group that receives funding from corporations and works against minimum wage increases

Affecting 5.3 million workers currently earning less than the new standards, the Economic Policy Institute established in Washington, DC, which accounts for nearly 8 percent of the workforce, does not impose any additional minimum wage increases in some 20 cities in these 20 states.

supports the trend towards higher minimum wages for the Fight for $ 15, a national movement that has used protest actions and rallies to push for higher pay levels for fast food, childcare, airline and other sectors workers.

"It may not have motivated all legislators to agree that we should rise to $ 15," said David Cooper, Senior Economic Analyst at the Economic Policy Institute. "But it has motivated many of them to accept that we need a higher minimum wage in a large part of the country than before." (19659019) (Copyright © 2018, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.)


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