More than four million workers will receive 2018 with a salary increase, thanks to new laws and regulations that will take effect in 18 states of the country as of December 31.
The increase will benefit 4.5 million workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
In the state of New York the rise is in force since the last day of the year and its magnitude depends both on the geographical area where the company is and on the number of employees it has.
In New York City, companies with more than 11 employees will start paying from December 31 a minimum wage of $ 15 per hour and that same day will begin to apply a paid leave of 12 weeks for maternity or other needs relatives, which is the longest in the whole country.
As of January 1, the minimum wage in California will increase from $ 10.50 to $ 11 per hour for large companies (from 26 employees and up).
The new year will also bring minimum wage increases for workers in Michigan, Maine, Hawaii, Colorado, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Arizona.
In states like Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Montana and South Dakota the minimum wage will increase from January 1, 2018 through an adjustment based on annual inflation.
The minimum wage at the federal level remains “frozen” at $ 7.25 / hour since 2009.
Faced with this wage immobility, several groups have created a national movement that aims to increase the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour, especially for workers in fast food restaurants and the service sector.
“The minimum wage in the United States is simply very low, if we take into account inflation and the economic needs of families we should be paying an average of $ 21 per hour,” said Tomás Robles, director of the LUCHA group in Arizona. , one of the promoters of state law 206.
This legislation approved by the voters increased in 2017 the minimum wage in Arizona to $ 10 an hour and next January 1 will increase it again, this time in 50 cents.
Robles denounced that those who oppose legislation that increases the minimum wage in the country always use the same arguments, among them that any increase will affect small businesses and that it will cause unemployment or cuts in services.
In his view, a good example of this belief being wrong is Arizona.
“In this state, in 2017, jobs in the service sector and in sales increased, more jobs were created, and we saw that the increase in the minimum wage helped to inject nearly one billion dollars into the state economy and unemployment went down. from 5 to 4.3% in 2017, so we have more people working, “he said.
Law 206 will increase the minimum wage gradually in Arizona each year until it reaches $ 12 an hour in 2020.
Robles said that the movement in favor of continuing to increase the minimum wage will last, because salaries “simply are not enough.”
“People can not survive on a single salary, we have fathers and mothers who have up to two or three jobs to pay for the necessities of their home,” Robles emphasized.
Last May, independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who competed for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, introduced legislation in the Senate to increase the minimum wage at the federal level to $ 15 an hour, but no Republican senator supported the measure.
“Any increase, however minimal, is of great benefit to my family,” said Efe Raquel Ramírez, a resident of Tucson.
A single mother of a five-year-old girl, Ramírez indicated that, despite having a full-time job, every month “battle” to pay rent and bills.
“You can hardly” survive “, but it’s not enough when you have an emergency, as if your car breaks down or you have to put tires on it, I finish.