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Minimum wages on the rise as ballot initiatives pass

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

The minimum wage will increase in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, as well as Oakland and San Francisco, Calif., after voters approved local ballot initiatives on Nov. 4.

The popular measures—which passed by an average margin of 26%—bring the following new rates:

  • Alaska: $9.75 by 2016
  • Arkansas: $8.50 by 2017
  • Nebraska: $9 by 2016
  • South Dakota: $8.50 by 2015.

Oakland voters OK’d a wage hike to $12.25 per hour by March 2015.

In San Francisco—already home to the nation’s highest minimum, $10.74— the hourly rate will rise to $15 by 2018.

A nonbinding initiative in Illinois calls for the legislature to raise that state’s minimum wage to $10 per hour.

Just this year, 17 states and 10 municipalities have raised minimum wages. Washington has the highest current state minimum: $9.32 per hour.

On Jan. 1, when new minimum wage rates take effect in Hawaii, Maryland and West Virginia, 26 states will have a minimum wage higher than the federally mandated $7.25 per hour.

President Obama has unsuccessfully called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, a prospect that seems increasingly unlikely now that Republicans control both the House and Senate.

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