The Current State Of Minimum Wage Around The Country The following is an update to our original post on minimum wage. One hot topic that always seems to be changing and fluctuating is the minimum wage. While the federal minimum wage has stayed the same at $7.25, there are 29 states with minimum wages higher than the federal minimum. In the past couple years, many states have approved minimum wage hikes. In 2016, 14 states began the year with higher minimum wages, and states like California and New York passed laws that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. With a new administration in charge, it’s hard to tell if the federal minimum wage will be raised or stay the same. Previously, President Trump stated that he is for each state choosing what the minimum wage should be, but has not expressed any plans for raising the federal minimum wage. A Senior Housing News article states the following: “National pressure for raising minimum wages is likely to abate under the new administration, however on the state level things look different.” It’s true. 19 states have increased their minimum wage starting in 2017. Of the 19 states, seven had automatic wage increases, five increased rates from approved voting initiatives, and seven had rate increases from previously passed legislation. In addition, 13 states will have future increases in the next few years, according to the National Conference of State Legislature. With more states adopting higher rates each year, and a push for higher wages at the federal level, your organization may be affected by a higher minimum wage sooner rather than later. Here’s what you need to know about minimum wage hikes, and what it could potentially mean for your organization. Is It Good Or Bad? While there is much debate about if a higher minimum wage will be good or bad for the economy, the Department of Labor debunked several minimum wage myths on their website, including the common fear that a higher wage will cause people to lose their jobs. There is also growing skepticism about raising the minimum wage, especially for small business owners. As more counties and states consider raising the minimum wage, keep in mind how it may affect your organization, and if you would need to make any changes. While the Department of Labor reports that overall raising the minimum wage doesn’t hurt businesses, it can vary from business to business, depending on the organization’s financial outlook and current employee wages. Be Prepared If a minimum wage hike is occurring in your county, then there are steps you can take to be prepared for when it goes into effect. It starts with knowing your expenses, so you can decide how many employees you can afford and then think of innovative ways to cut costs and save money. It also impacts how you hire your employees. Since you’ll be paying them more, make sure they are the right fit for your organization, and view them as an investment, not just another employee. Other ways to prepare are adjusting your pricing, revising your business strategy, and automating or outsourcing certain processes and tasks. Close To Home Aureon, the minimum wage debate has hit home. The areas around our Des Moines and Kansas City offices are both being impacted by recent minimum wage increases. In 2016, Polk County (Iowa’s largest county in regards to population, with 450,000 residents) approved to raise the local minimum wage to $10.75 by 2019. This is the first wage increase since 2008 when it was raised to $7.25, and Polk County officials are hoping that this compels the state of Iowa to consider raising the minimum wage, too. Aureon is located just outside of Polk County, so it doesn’t affect our organization, but we do have clients in Polk County, and it gives us the chance to closely observe the changes and the effects of the wage increase, and guide our clients through the process. In Kansas City, the Kansas City Council recently approved a minimum wage increase that would raise it to $13 an hour by 2023. Even though councilmen and women approved this increase, there is a chance it may be shut down in the coming months by the Senate. We’ll be following this situation closely to see what happens and ensure our clients are informed if the minimum wage increase goes into effect in the near future. Would a minimum wage increase impact your organization? Anne Barry Anne Barry is the Director of HR Operations at Aureon HR. She possesses more than 13 years of HR and leadership experience, currently leading a team of HR professionals who help managers and employees navigate their HR challenges. She's best known for identifying unique employment-related challenges and working with her clients and team members to create a positive resolution. She earned her Master's degree in Public Administration from Drake University.