The beginning of 2018 is highly anticipated, if for no other reason than the simple fact that it means an end to 2017. But there's more to look forward to than starting fresh with a new calendar — including a higher paycheck for many Americans. Millions of workers will benefit from the minimum wage increases in 18 states effective in January, and some are on the way to even higher wages in subsequent years.
"This is welcome news for low wage workers at a time when they have every reason to worry about their economic wellbeing with attacks on health care, a tax scam, and budget cuts looming," said Working Families issues director Jen Kern in a statement. "All hail the advocates and organizers who fought hard for these raises and the legislators who voted to enact them."
Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Vermont will all see their respective minimum wages increase, though they will remain below $12 an hour. Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, New York, and Washington are instituting one phase of a gradual increase that will eventually reach either $12 or $15 an hour after multiple phases are complete. All 18 states' new wage requirements will be effective either Dec. 31 or Jan. 1.
The federal minimum wage has remained stagnant at $7.25 since 2009, but 29 states and Washington D.C. have minimums above the federal requirement. Here's a breakdown of what the 2018 increases will look like in each state, according to a report from the National Employment Law Project released Tuesday:
Alaska: $9.84 (up from $9.80); no separate tipped minimum wage
Arizona: $10.50 (up from $10); $7.50 tipped wage (up from $7.00)
California: $11 for large employers (up from $10.50); $10.50 for small employers (up from $10); no separate tipped minimum wage
Colorado: $10.20 (up from $9.30); $7.18 tipped wage (up from $6.28)
Florida: $8.25 (up from $8.10); $5.23 tipped wage (up from $5.08)
Hawaii: $10.10 (up from $9.25); $9.35 tipped wage (up from $8.50)
Maine: $10 (up from $9); tipped wage will remain at $5
Michigan: $9.25 (up from $8.90); $3.52 tipped wage (up from $3.38)
Minnesota: $9.65 for large employers (up from $9.50); $7.87 for small employers (up from $7.75); no separate tipped minimum wage
Missouri: $7.85 (up from $7.70); $3.93 tipped wage (up from $3.85)
Montana: $8.30 (up from $8.15); no separate tipped minimum wage
New Jersey: $8.60 (up from $8.44); tipped wage will remain at $2.13
Ohio: $8.30 (up from $8.15); $4.15 tipped wage (up from $4.08)
Rhode Island: $10.10 (up from $9.60); tipped wage will remain at $3.89
South Dakota: $8.85 (up from $8.65); $4.43 tipped wage (up from $4.33)
Vermont: $10.50 (up from $10); $5.25 tipped wage (up from $5)
Washington state: $11.50 (up from $11); no separate tipped minimum wage
New York's increases are especially complicated, so here's a separate breakdown of the upcoming changes:
New York: For NYC non-fast food workers, $13 for large employers (up from $11) and $12 for small employers (up from $10.50); for Long Island and Westchester non-fast food workers $11 (up from $10); for upstate non-fast food workers $10.40 (up from $9.70).
For NYC fast food workers, $13.50 (up from $12); For fast food workers in the rest of the state, $11.75 (up from $10.75).
In addition of these state increases, 20 cities will see additional minimum wage increases on Jan. 1. The following California cities' minimums will rise: Cupertino, El Cerrito, Los Altos, Milpitas, Mountain View, Oakland, Palo Alto, Richmond, San Jose, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale. The rest of the cities include Flagstaff, Arizona; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Seattle and Tacoma, Washington; and Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Bernalillo County in New Mexico.
"Workers across the country are now starting to see the pay increases they've been winning through the Fight for $15," said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, in a statement. "These big raises offer hope for workers – and are inspiring more states and cities to push for big raises for workers at the bottom."
Wage hikes are especially beneficial for women, as they make up about two-thirds of all minimum wage workers in the U.S. Because of the concentration of women in low-wage jobs, higher state minimum wages also help promote equal pay for women. In fact, states with a minimum wage at or above $8.25 per hour have a gender wage gap of 13.5 cents (about 41 percent less than the 23 cent gap in states with a $7.25 minimum wage), according to a 2017 National Women's Law Center report.
The state and local changes that will ring in the new year are victories on many fronts.