Increasing Minimum Wages Across the West Coast…and Elsewhere

First seen on the American Bar Association website.

Within an environment in which wage and hour legal actions have increased fourfold since 1997, according to The 2015 Employment Law Guide 125 (Dorsey & Whitney LLP 2015), progressive employment values are receiving increasing support and becoming codified in municipal and state laws.

As part of a broader movement for updates to minimum employment standards, there is a particular focus on raising the minimum wage. Minimum wage affects nearly all employers and covers most workers (including both documented and undocumented workers). Employment pay practices and policies are extensively regulated at the federal and state levels and within many larger municipal jurisdictions. Under federal, state, and municipal law, the most generous wage and hour regulations will apply to the employment relationship, so employers must review the laws of multiple jurisdictions and, based upon where an employee conducts his or her work, comply with the wages most favorable to the employee. 29 U.S.C. § 218(a); see also, e.g., Wash. Rev. Code § 49.46.120; N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 12, § 146-1.2.(d).

Changes in wage and hour laws are being proposed, adopted, and implemented throughout the West and elsewhere, with many changes originating via the initiative process. The large cities of Washington and California are at the forefront of the movement to dramatically raise the minimum wage, but there are many developments in the Northeast, too.

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