In Focus: This City Has America’s Highest Minimum Wage

Allen Smith, J.D. By Allen Smith, J.D. September 8, 2015

For so long, there has been a conversation about the race to the bottom in the business world. Partly in response, cities and towns are raising the minimum wage that businesses must pay. Emeryville, Calif., now has the highest minimum wage in the country at $14.44 an hour —nearly double the federal minimum of $7.25, and it’s expected to rise to $16.

Raising the Minimum Wage Is a National Trend

The hikes in minimum wage are partly because the federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised and attempts to raise it have floundered. Some cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, are set to phase in a $15 minimum wage over the next few years.
(SHRM Online)

‘Fight for $15’ Protests Call for Trend to Spread

Another reason for the rise has been a push from big labor. The “Fight for $15” protests have pressed companies to pay workers a minimum of $15 per hour. The movement first targeted fast-food employers, but now also takes aim at retailers, childcare providers, colleges, home care employers and airports.
(SHRM Online)

Some Employers Are Raising Salaries Without a Legislative Mandate

Wal-Mart and Starbucks are getting ahead of federal minimum wage requirements, as both have announced plans to increase workers’ pay.
(SHRM Online)

HR Can Play a Leading Role in Preventing Wage Theft

Another hot compensation issue is whether employees are being paid what they’ve earned—if they’re not, there is so-called “wage theft.” HR can leverage the current focus on wage theft to promote compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and a fast-growing assortment of state wage-theft prevention laws.
(SHRM Online)


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