Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made a point of announcing that he raised the minimum wage for staffers working on his campaign to $15 an hour to make a statement. One might argue that this makes Sanders a trendsetter among his Democratic colleagues seeking the party’s nomination for president.
However, it can be argued just as effectively that he is following the lead of the more than 38 states that have taken action on increasing the minimum wage over the two years. This year alone, 19 states will increase their minimum wage requirements.
Employers should note that states, counties and cities may be enacting different minimum wage requirements, even within the same state. California is a good example. On the state level, organizations with 26 or more employees have a minimum wage of $12. For employers with less than 25 employees, the minimum wage is $11. Effective July 1, the cities of Los Angles, Malibu, Pasadena, and Santa Monica and the County of Los Angeles increased the minimum wage from $13.25 to $14.25 for employers with 26 or more employees. Some cities have minimum wages as high as $16.30 and as low as $13.25. A full list of the counties and cities in California that received minimum wage increases this July can be found here.
As more cities and states across the U.S. implement practices for increasing the minimum wage, employers should keep abreast of changing legislation in locations where they do business. Failing to comply with minimum wage increases could lead to heavy wage and hour penalties and poses a significant risk of litigation.
Many states have already implemented new pay equity laws in 2019, including bans on salary history, gender discrimination, retaliation, and paid leave. Make sure your organization is complying with these pay equity laws as they continue to surface.