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What Is The Minimum Wage?

That depends on where you live. As defined by federal law, the minimum wage is:

$7.25 per hour

But many states (and some cities) have set their own minimum wages higher than that.

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, workers are entitled to the higher minimum wage when a local law sets a different rate than federal law.

That’s federal law. You should always be making the more “generous” wage to which you are entitled.

States With High Minimum Wages

Here’s a look at the 29 states (and one federal district) with higher minimum wages than the FLSA’s $7.25. If you live in one, that’s the hourly rate you should be making.

STATE MINIMUM WAGE
Washington, D.C. $11.50
Washington $11.00
Oregon $10.25
Vermont $10.00
Connecticut $10.10
Massachusetts $11.00
Minnesota $9.00
California $10.50 (employers with 25 employees or fewer)

$10.00 (employers with 26 employees or more)

Rhode Island $9.60
Alaska $9.80
New York $9.70
South Dakota $8.65
New Jersey $8.44
Illinois $8.25
Delaware $8.25
Nevada $8.25
Michigan $8.90
Ohio $8.15
Colorado $9.30
Arizona $10.00
Florida $8.10
Montana $8.15
Nebraska $9.00
West Virginia $8.75
Maryland $9.25
Hawaii $9.25
Missouri $7.70
New Mexico $7.50
Maine $9.00
Arkansas $8.50

Cities With High Minimum Wages

To add another wrinkle, some cities have set even higher minimum wages. You always deserve the highest wage that covers you.

CITY MINIMUM WAGE
Santa Fe, NM $10.91
San Francisco, CA $13.00
Albuquerque, NM $8.80
San Jose, CA $10.50
SeaTac, WA $15.34
Las Cruces, NM $9.20
Mountain View, CA $13.00
Sunnyvale, CA $13.00
San Diego, CA $11.50
Oakland, CA $12.86
Berkeley, CA $12.53
Richmond, CA $12.30
Chicago, IL $10.50
Seattle, WA $13.00 (small employers); $15.00 (large employers)
Emeryville, CA $13.00 (small employers); $14.82 (large employers)

Counties With High Minimum Wages

For our final wrinkle, we’ll check out four counties that have passed their own minimum wages:

COUNTY MINIMUM WAGE POPULATION CENTERS
Bernalillo County, NM $8.70 Albuquerque (which already has its own minimum wage, 10 cents higher than the county’s)
Montgomery County, MD $11.50 Gaithersburg, Rockville, Bethesda
Prince George’s County, MD $11.50 Bowie, Greenbelt, Largo, Clinton
Santa Fe County, NM $10.84 Santa Fe, Los Cerrillos, Madrid, Tesuque, Pojoaque

Can We Raise The Federal Minimum Wage?

While recent high-profile campaigns to raise minimum wages across the country have sparked renewed interest in bettering the lives of workers, the federal minimum wage remains relatively low.

Together, we can work to change that. Raise The Minimum Wage is fighting for wage increases on the local, state and federal level. Their biggest goal? Raising the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour. That rate hasn’t changed since 2009, but life in America is getting harder. Far too many hard-working families are living in or near poverty. That’s not right and it needs to change.

Here’s a good place to start: sign the National Employment Law Project’s petition and tell Congress that enough is enough. Then get your friends and loved ones involved; we can only do it if we join forces.

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