Workers in four states may be getting a raise post-Election Day, with initiatives to raise the minimum wage heading to a vote. Arizona, Colorado and Maine all have ballot measures to hike local wages to $12 an hour, while Washington State voters will consider $13.80 an hour. All increases are to be phased in gradually by the year 2020.
The pendulum seems to be swinging in favor of higher wages nationally, where 29 states and Washington, D.C., now have minimum wages above the federal level of $7.25 an hour. The federal minimum wage has been stagnant since 2009, but the Obama Administration has taken steps to offer workers better protections during that time period; the Department of Labor, for example, enacted sweeping changes on overtime regulations. In less than a month, on December 1, more than four million salaried employees earning $23,660 to $47,476 each year will be eligible for overtime pay.
While economists continue to debatewhether or not higher pay is good for business, employers like Wal-mart, Target, and Facebook have offered higher pay to workers in recent years. And both presidential candidates agree that a raise of the minimum wage is in order: Republican nominee Donald Trump has proposed $10 an hour, while Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton supports a wage of $12 an hour, and $15 an hour in cities and municipalities where that is economically feasible.