Minimum wage rules go into effect, Arkansas workers get 75 cent raise in 2019
LITTLE ROCK (TALK BUSINESS AND POLITICS) -- As the new year gets underway, many Arkansans will be among the millions of workers across the U.S. getting a wage hike as more than two dozen states implement changes to their minimum wage laws.
According to Wolters Kluwer, the global legal consulting firm, a total of 22 states and the District of Columbia will raise the minimum wage in 2019, with 19 of those states implementing increases on Jan. 1. Arkansas will officially start the year with business owners across the state increasing the state’s minimum wage to $9.25 an hour, and eventually up to $11 an hour by 2021.
“While it isn’t unusual for there to be minimum wage rate increases in January, there is a growing trend to increase wages in response to calls for making sure the minimum wage is a living wage,” said Barbara O’Dell, employment law analyst for Wolters Kluwer’s legal and regulatory office in New York City. “The incremental wage increases, including in California and Washington, which are moving minimum wages toward a final goal of $15 per hour, are an example of how states are trying to address this issue.”
The highest statewide minimum wage rate is in the District of Columbia, at $13.25 per hour, followed by Massachusetts and Washington each at $12 per hour, according to Wolters Kluwer. Some of the new wage rates are the result of scheduled, incremental increases set by states in earlier years, including those in California and Washington.
In Arkansas, voters overwhelmingly supported Issue 5 during the Nov. 6 election, approving a 75 cent per hour wage hike from last year’s $8.50 an hour for many workers across the state. Under the initiated act that was supported by the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage coalition and other progressive groups across the state, that standard will then rise to $10 in 2020 and $11 in 2021.
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