Minimum Wage Increases Win in Several States During Midterm Elections

After last Tuesday’s referendums, including legislation passed in Maryland, Hawaii, and West Virginia, 29 states will soon have a higher minimum wage. Fifteen states have decided tie their minimum wage increase to an inflation index.

Voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota chose to increase their states’ minimum wages last Tuesday. Starting in January, 2015, an estimated 420,000 of the lowest-paid workers will see their paychecks grow.

San Francisco opted to start paying workers $15 per hour, matching the national high. The increase in San Francisco will be phased in over time, reaching $15 by 2018. This was passed by more than 76% of voters, who opted to match Seattle in offering the highest minimum wage in the nation.

In Illinois, 66% of voters supported a non-binding resolution to raise the minimum wage to $10 by 2015. On the East Coast, Massachusetts’ voters made their state the third in the nation to require paid sick leave for workers, after Connecticut and California.