Voters Approve State Minimum Wage Increases and Paid Sick Leave
Voters in four states – Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington – passed ballot initiatives this month to increase the minimum wage.
All four states – Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington – will gradually increase the minimum wage over the next few years, reaching $12.00 an hour in Arizona, Colorado, and Maine and $13.50 an hour in Washington in 2020. After 2020, the minimum wages will be tied to inflation. Voters in South Dakota also voted on a minimum wage ballot initiative, overwhelmingly rejecting a proposal that would have decreased the minimum wage for workers under age 18 from $8.50 to $7.50 an hour. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have rates higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. In addition to boosting the minimum wage, the ballot initiatives in Arizona and Washington also require employers to provide paid sick leave to employees to care for themselves or family members. They join five other states (Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont), the District of Columbia, and many cities and counties that have already passed such mandates.