Ohio, New York See Minimum Wage Increases; Pennsylvania's Remains Unchanged

Shawna Green waitress at Granny Shaffer's puts out menus for customers at the restaurant in Joplin Mo. Wages will be increasing for millions of low-income workers across the U.S. as the new year ushers in new laws

Advocates say the trend toward higher minimum wages began in 2012, when the "Fight for $15" national movement began protesting for higher wages for fast food, child care and airline workers, among other businesses.

Since 2009, the federal minimum wage has stalled at $7.25 an hour, but that's about to change for 20 states.

Employers face a fine of $1,000 per violation if they are found liable for intentionally violating minimum wage requirements. While few have reached that threshold, several state legislatures and city councils have raised wages through phased-in laws, ballot initiatives and by adjusting for inflation. Minimum wage workers will see that pay increase beginning December 31, 2018, but their new wage depends on where in the state they work.

January 1st, the Arkansas minimum wage went up 75 cents an hour to $9.25. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Under federal law and many state laws, these workers can be paid less than the legal minimum wage on the assumption that they receive a substantial part of their income in the form of tips.

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Despite predictions of major job losses with a higher minimum wage, that's not what happened. "Whereas $15 is what a single worker needs in a less expensive state such as Alabama, Florida or Texas". In Michigan, legislators this year passed a wage increase before it was slated to go on the ballot in November, then, after the election, passed laws reducing the wage increases.

"For us it's very simple". Many states are raising this maximum as well. In 2020, it will increase again to $15 per hour.

A number of cities, including Seattle; Las Cruces, New Mexico; Flagstaff, Arizona, and a number of cities in California, are also raising their minimum wages this year, in some cases to a higher rate than respective states overall. It took another year for voters to raise the statewide minimum wage.

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