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Minimum wage increases in 20 states and numerous cities



JEFFERSON CITY, Mon. (AP) – At Granny Shaffer's restaurant in Joplin, Missouri, owner Mike Wiggins recreates the menus to reflect the 5, 10, or 20 cents added to each item.

A two-egg breakfast costs an additional $ 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 are necessary to offset an estimated $ 10,000 to $ 12,000 in additional annual wages for his employees following a new minimum wage law that will come into force on Tuesday.

"It's very easy for us, there's no big pot of money to raise the money for the required pay increases," said Wiggins.

New Minimum Wage Requirements Will Enter into Force in 20 States and Nearly Two Dozen Cities The start of the new year will affect millions of workers. Government pay increases range from one extra 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 $ 16 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 policy, restrictions on gun sales following fatal 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 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 minimum wage increases 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 up to $ 11 per hour and then in 2016 up to $ 13 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 out of this.

In May, researchers found that Seattle's initial rise to $ 11 per hour had a negligible effect on employment, but that 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 drop in working hours for those who earned less than $ 19 an 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 already worked more hours, while those who worked less did not see any 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 corporate funding and is opposed to minimum wage increases