More Cities and States Might Boost Minimum Wage in 2016

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Protestors Rally Across US On National Day Of Action For $15 Minimum Wage

By Karla Bowsher

One could argue that 2015 was the year of the $15 minimum hourly wage. But 2016 could provide another big boost to efforts to hike pay.

Fourteen cities, counties and states approved $15 minimum wage laws this year, according to newly released data from the National Employment Law Project (NELP), a nonprofit that advocates for low-wage workers.

Christine Owens, executive director of NELP, says in a recent news release that the past year has seen "incredible momentum" to raise wages. The press release adds that 2016 shows more promise:

The Fight for $15 is expected to make further inroads in the New Year. There are 16 pending legislative or ballot proposals in 15 jurisdictions that will likely gain traction in 2016.

The New York City-based nonprofit notes that action on federal legislation — which would more than double the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 — is "unlikely in the current Congress." Details on the pending initiatives are as follows:
  • Federal: Proposal for a $15 minimum wage that would be phased in by 2020
  • New York: $15 by 2018 (for New York City) or 2021 (for New York state)
  • California: $15 in two proposals — one by 2021; another by 2020 for businesses with 25-plus workers, 2021 for businesses with fewer workers
  • Washington, D.C.: $15 by 2020
  • Massachusetts (fast food and big retail): $15 by 2018
  • Oregon: $15 by 2019
  • Missouri: $15 by 2023
  • Olympia, Washington: $15 (no date given)
  • Sacramento, California: $15 by 2020
  • Pasadena, California: $15 (no date given)
  • Palo Alto, California: $15 by 2018
  • Sunnyvale, California: $15 by 2018
  • Berkeley, California: $15 by 2018 for businesses with at least 55 workers; or 2020 for businesses with fewer than 55 workers
  • Long Beach, California: $16
  • Davis, California: $15

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