- New state and local minimum wage rates will take effect across the US starting in January.
- The federal minimum wage remains at $7.25, but states, cities, and counties can require higher pay.
- Two states and 31 local governments will have minimum wages of $15 or higher on or around January 1.
New Year’s Day will bring a raise for minimum wage workers in 21 states and 35 cities and counties.
Although the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 — where it has been since 2009 — state and local governments may set their own higher wage requirements.
In 31 cities and counties, as well as two states, the start of the new year will mean minimum wages of $15 per hour or more, according to a report from the National Employment Law Project (NELP).
Minimum wage increases in New York will take effect on December 31. The minimum wage in Long Island and Westchester will increase to $15, matching New York City’s rate. Minimum wage workers in Upstate New York will also see an increase.
“When the minimum wage is too low it hurts workers who can’t afford the basics and it hurts businesses that count on customers with money to spend,” Holly Sklar, the CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, said in a statement. “As the federal minimum wage remains stuck at an inexcusable $7.25 an hour, state increases are vital for strengthening our recovery.”
Not all increases are happening in January though.
“Later in 2022, four additional states and 22 local jurisdictions will also lift their wage floors—17 of them to $15 or more,” NELP wrote.
The following map shows which states will see minimum wage increases in 2022:
The below map highlights in which cities and counties minimum wage workers can expect to see an increase in minimum wage rates next year:
November will mark the 10th anniversary of the “Fight for $15,” led by workers in fast-food and other low-paying industries.
“Our experience shows that you can pay well and be profitable,” said Katie Bach, the director of strategy for &pizza, an east-coast restaurant chain that already offers a starting wage of $15. Bach told Insider, “we hope that higher minimum wages will help our competitors see that for themselves.”
By this time next year, 81 jurisdictions will have a new minimum wage requirement — some due to cost-of-living calculations, which are typically linked to rising inflation.
“Minimum wage increases don’t go into workers’ pockets and disappear. The money recirculates as spending at local businesses like ours,” Gina Schaefer, the owner of several hardware stores in the DC area, said in a statement. “Whole communities are strengthened. Fair pay has always been key to the great service that keeps our customers coming back.”
Even though there are many states, cities, and counties raising wages in 2022, not every state has taken the same steps to increase minimum wages.
“Twenty states have refused to raise their wage floors above the federal rate for over a decade,” NELP wrote in the report. “Roughly half of those states are located in the US South, where a majority of Black workers live, and where, not surprisingly, they experience higher levels of poverty and downward economic mobility.”