What to Know About Minimum Wage Increases in 2019

Tyler Winn

On January 1, 2019, twenty states (and the District of Colombia) increased their minimum wages. Eight states based this increase on automatic inflation adjustments, six states raised wages through ballot measures, and the remaining six states saw increases from legislation proposed in 2018. One state, Nevada, may also raise its minimum wage in 2019 pending review by the state’s labor commissioner.

With all these changes taking place, it’s important for employers to make their final preparations to ensure a smooth transition into some potentially new requirements. It’s estimated 5.2 million workers will be impacted by changing wages.

First, note that the federal minimum wage will remain at $7.25 per hour for most employees, with the minimum wage for federal contractors set at $10.35 per hour. These Fair Labor Standards Act rules, however, do not supersede any state or local regulations that could affect your business. Those rules take precedence over the federal minimum wage rates.

States increasing their minimum wage requirements in 2019 include the following:

  • Alaska: $9.89 per hour
  • Arizona: $11 per hour
  • Arkansas: $9.25 per hour
  • California: $12 per hour for businesses with 26 or more employees; $11 per hour for businesses with fewer than 26 employees
  • Colorado: $11.10 per hour
  • Delaware: $8.75 per hour, raising to $9.25 statewide, effective October 1
  • Florida: $8.46 per hour
  • Maine: $11 per hour
  • Massachusetts: $12 per hour
  • Michigan: $9.48 per hour
  • Minnesota: $9.86 per hour for large employers; $8.04 per hour for small employers.
  • Missouri: $8.60 per hour
  • Montana: $8.50 per hour
  • New Jersey: $8.85 per hour
  • New York: $11.10 per hour for most employers in New York State; $15.00 per hour for large employers and $13.50 for small employers in New York City; $12.00 per hour for Long Island and Westchester Counties.
  • Ohio: $8.55 per hour
  • Rhode Island: $10.50 per hour
  • South Dakota: $9.10 per hour
  • Vermont: $10.78 per hour
  • Washington: $12 per hour
  • Washington, D.C.: $13.25, raising to $14.00 effective July 1

How employers can prepare

Employers should be fully prepared to increase the pay of any employees below the minimum wage threshold. Most state enforcement agencies have made wage theft a high priority, and failure to pay workers the appropriate minimum wage constitutes a serious violation.

Additionally, if your business is in an area where minimum wage will rise and your employees’ rate of pay increased on January 1 as a result, workers must have received notice from you no later than January 7, 2019. The only exception is if you have already reflected the change on a timely itemized wage statement, and this statement meets all legal requirements affecting it. If this is the case, you likely won’t need to submit a separate wage notice to your employees.

If your state or local government requires you to submit a wage notice to your employees, it must include the following:

  • Changes in standard rate of pay;
  • Changes in overtime rate of pay;
  • Allowances (such as meal pay or lodging) claimed as part of minimum wage.

If you need assistance managing a minimum wage increase (or any other payroll issue for your business), reach out to us today.