Three states have already implemented a minimum wage increase in 2010 and a fourth has planned to do so in July. Meanwhile, Colorado is the only state to have decreased its 2010 minimum wage.
Update: See Minimum Wage 2012.
Each of the three states listed below increased the minimum wage rate on the effective date of January 1, 2010, to the hourly amount indicated.
- Alaska $7.75
- Connecticut $8.25
- Kansas $7.25
The fourth state, Illinois, has planned to implement a minimum wage rate increase to $8.25 per hour, effective 7/01/2010.
None of the other states (or U.S. territories) have planned to implement a 2010 minimum wage rate increase, according to data provided by the U.S. Department of Labor. However, the minimum wage increase implemented by over half of the states last year (to meet or exceed the federal rate increase) will remain in effect through 2010, except for a few pennies of the increase implemented by Colorado.
Colorado decreased its minimum wage on January 1, 2010 from $7.28 to $7.24 per hour, based on the state’s consumer price index (CPI), a measure of inflation or deflation. Because Colorado’s CPI showed a lower cost of living last year by falling 0.6 percent, the state legally dropped its 2010 minimum wage rate.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Colorado is one of ten states that have minimum wage rates linked to a CPI, designed to protect eligible workers from inflation. However, Colorado is the only state among the ten to ever decrease its minimum wage rate on the basis of deflation. In fact, according to The Associated Press, it’s the only state to ever decrease its minimum wage rate, period.
Colorado’s minimum wage rate is now a penny less than the federal minimum wage increase to $7.25 per hour that became effective last year. Four additional states also have 2010 minimum wage rates that are less than the federal increase, while another five don’t even have a state minimum wage. Washington pays the highest minimum wage ($8.55) among the states, while Georgia and Wyoming pay the least ($5.15).
About the Minimum Wage
The minimum wage is the least dollar amount per hour that employers must pay to eligible employees as mandated by state or federal law, or in some cases (such as San Francisco), municipal law. Eligible employees are covered by whichever law at the municipal, state or federal level is the most generous.
In the five states that don’t have their own minimum wage laws, eligible employees are covered by the federal minimum wage law, entitled the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA always rules in states that have less-generous minimum wage laws or none at all.
States set minimum wage rates that are lower than the mandatory federal rate under the FLSA, presumably to ensure that workers who are not covered by the FLSA receive at least a minimum, set amount in hourly wages under state laws.
For more information about the minimum wage in your work state, such as the current rate, eligibility requirements, applicable laws and how to file a wage complaint, start by browsing the Web site of the state
labor department. (Look for “minimum wage,” “wage and hour” or related topics.) Consult a lawyer for legal advice regarding the minimum wage.