September 01, 2021

In April 2021, President Biden signed an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay a $15 hourly minimum wage to workers for new federal contract solicitations starting Jan. 30, 2022 — and by March 30, 2022, for new contracts. The Department of Labor proposed implementation rules on July 21, 2021. In January 2021, President Biden also issued an executive order asking the director of the Office of Personnel Management to provide recommendations on promoting a $15/hour minimum wage for federal employees. House and Senate Democrats also introduced the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 to progressively increase the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2025. Several states have already taken action to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15/hour for most employees. To help employers prepare and address related issues, this roundup provides links to federal and state resources from organizations, government websites, third-party resources and news articles.

Federal

The minimum wage provision for federal employees, contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act, has been $7.25/hour since July 24, 2009. Under Executive Order 13658, federal contractors must pay a minimum wage rate of $10.95/hour as of Jan. 1, 2021. However, Executive Order 14026, “Increasing the Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors,” signed by President Biden on April 27, 2021, will require payment of a $15 hourly minimum wage to federally contracted workers starting Jan. 30, 2022, for new contract solicitations — and by March 30, 2022, for new contracts. The Department of Labor on July 21, 2021 announced proposed rules to establish standards and procedures to implement and enforce this order, and comments can be made until Aug. 23, 2021.
 

The president also supports a broader minimum wage increase to $15/hour — as announced in the Jan. 22, 2021, executive order and during his presidential campaign. The Raise the Wage Act of 2021 introduced by House and Senate Democrats on Jan. 26, 2021, would increase the minimum wage rate to $9.50/hour in 2021, and would progressively increase the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2025. It would be indexed to median wage growth thereafter. The legislation would also gradually phase out subminimum wages for tipped workers, youth workers and workers with disabilities.
 

Multistate resources

Currently, 30 states and the Washington, DC have set their minimum wage higher than the federal level of $7.25/hour, and there is a trend to move towards a $15/hour minimum wage rate for most employees.
 

States that have committed to a $15/hour minimum wage rate

Currently, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington, DC have committed to increase the general minimum wage rate to $15/hour.
 

California

California’s minimum wage for employers with 25 or more employees is $14/hour as of Jan. 1, 2021 — it will be $15/hour as of Jan. 1, 2022. The increase for smaller employers is delayed by one year —$13/hour as of Jan. 1, 2021, $14/hour as of Jan. 1, 2022, and $15/hour as of Jan. 1, 2023.
 

Connecticut

Connecticut’s minimum wage rate increased to $12/hour as of Sept. 1, 2020, and it will progressively increase to $15/hour by Jun. 1, 2023.
 

Delaware

Delaware’s minimum wage is currently $9.25/hour and will increase as follows: $10.50/hour on Jan. 1, 2022; $11.75/hour on Jan. 1, 2023; $13.25/hour on Jan. 1, 2024 and $15/hour on Jan. 1, 2025.
 

Florida

Florida’s minimum wage rate of $8.56/hour will increase to $10/hour as of Sept. 30, 2021 — and then progressively increase to $15/hour by 2026.
 

Illinois

Illinois’ minimum wage rate is $11/hour as of Jan. 1, 2021 — it will progressively increase to $15/hour on Jan. 1, 2025.
 

Maryland

Maryland’s minimum wage rate for employers with 15 or more employees is $11.75/hour as of Jan. 1, 2021, and it will progressively increase to $15/hour by Jan. 1, 2025. The minimum wage rate for smaller employers is $11.60/hour as of Jan. 1, 2021, and it will progressively increase to $15/hour by July 1, 2026.
 

Massachusetts

Massachusetts’ minimum wage is $13.50/hour as of Jan. 1, 2021 and will progressively increase to $15/hour by Jan. 1, 2023.
 

New Jersey

New Jersey’s minimum wage rate is $12/hour as of Jan. 1, 2021 and will progressively increase to $15/hour by Jan. 1, 2024
 

New York

New York’s minimum wage rate is $15/hour in New York City, $14/hour in Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk counties) and in Westchester county, and $12.50/hour in the remainder of the state by Dec. 31, 2020. The state plans to reach a $15/hour minimum wage rate statewide. The Commissioner of Labor will publish the annual increases on or before October 1, 2021.
 

Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s minimum wage will rise to $12.25 as of Jan. 1, 2022 and will progressively increase to $15 by Jan. 1, 2025.
 

Washington, DC

The District of Columbia’s minimum wage rate is $15/hour as of July 1, 2020.
 

Information from other states/cities on push for $15 minimum wage

Arizona

Voters in the city of Tucson will consider a ballot measure on Nov. 2 that would establish a minimum wage in the city of $15 by Jan. 1, 2025. Under the proposal, the hourly wage would first rise to $13 on April 1, 2022; $13.50 on Jan. 1, 2023; and 14.25 on Jan. 1, 2024. Currently, the hourly minimum wage is $12.15.
 

Virginia

Minimum wage increases to $13.50 on Jan. 1, 2025 and $15 on Jan. 1, 2026 is contingent on the General Assembly’s reenactment by July 1, 2024.
 

Company support for minimum wage increases

Fiona Webster
by Fiona Webster

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

Stephanie Rosseau
by Stephanie Rosseau

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group


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