CBS News: Workers in more than 20 states, cities and counties to get a wage boost on July 1

By Aimee Picchi
CBS News MoneyWatch, June 30, 2022

Workers in more than 20 states, cities and counties will get a wage boost on July 1 when higher minimum wages kick in — part of a nationwide push to ensure the nation's lowest-paid workers are keeping up with the rising cost of living. ...

The hikes come as the federal minimum wage nears the 13th anniversary of its last increase, marking the longest period without an increase since the baseline wage was created in 1938. There are still 20 states, mostly in the South and Midwest, where the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour serves as the wage floor. ...

Meanwhile, 30 states and the District of Columbia have adopted wages above the federal baseline wage, with some states tying their increases to the cost of living. That should be a more equitable way to ensure that workers are keeping up with inflation, said Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, which advocates for a higher minimum wage.

"When you have indexing to the cost of living you are running in place. It's not like, 'I got a huge pay raise,' but it's allowing you to not fall behind," Sklar told CBS MoneyWatch. "It's really vital."

The federal minimum wage "was designed to keep people out of poverty, and now it's keeping people in poverty in a dramatic way" in the states where the federal minimum wage remains the law, she added. ...

To be sure, paying a higher wage can impact a business's profitability, but it can also help retain workers and improve morale, which can lead to better customer service and sales, noted Gina Schaefer, the owner of A Few Cool Hardware Stores, which runs 13 Ace Hardware stores. Seven of those locations are in D.C., where Schaefer will start paying a minimum wage of $16.10 an hour on Friday. 

"The more money my teammates make, the more money they take into the community," said Schaefer, who is a member of of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. "Not only is it less of a drain on social services, they have more money to spend in the local communities." ...

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