In Focus: Oregon Governor Signs Landmark Minimum-Wage Law

By Joanne Deschenaux Mar 4, 2016

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on March 2 signed a landmark minimum-wage law that makes the state the first in the nation to mandate higher pay in cities than in rural areas.

The law will enact a series of minimum-wage increases through 2022 with the pay hike set to reach $14.75 an hour in Portland—one of the highest minimum-wage rates in the nation. Minimum wage will increase to $12.50 in sparsely populated rural areas, and $13.50 in other rural parts of the state. Oregon’s current minimum wage is $9.25 an hour; the first hike kicks in July 1.

(The Wall Street Journal

Federal Proposal to Raise Minimum Wage Stalled in Congress

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez hailed Oregon's approach, adjusting the wage floor according to regional economic differences, as a model for other states to follow until Congress passes a higher national minimum wage supported by President Barack Obama.

A Democratic-backed proposal to raise the federal minimum to $10.10 stalled on Capitol Hill in 2014. More recent proposals by some lawmakers call for a federal minimum wage of up to $15 an hour.


Minimum Wage Increase Will Be on the Ballot in California

A pair of ballot initiatives aimed at boosting California’s minimum wage by a full 33 percent will appear on the state’s ballot in November. The initiatives would eventually hike the bottom hourly wage to $15, from its current $10-an-hour level—which just went up on Jan. 1, 2016, from $9 hourly. 

One proposal would make the change by 2020, the other by 2021.

(SHRM Online)

2016 Wages Expected to Rise Globally

Workers around the world are expected to see “real” (inflation-adjusted) wage increases of 2.5 percent in 2016—the highest in three years—as pay increases combine with historically low inflation to leave employees better off, reveals a forecast by advisory firm Korn Ferry and its Hay Group division. 

(SHRM Online)

Joanne Deschenaux, J.D., is SHRM’s senior legal editor.


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