The Seattle city council has set a new standard for large American cities by unanimously approving a minimum wage hike to $15 per hour. Here is how the plan will work: By 2017, employers with more than 500 employees that do not provide health insurance must pay at least $15 per hour. By 2018, large employers who do provide healthcare must increase their minimum hourly pay. By 2021, smaller employers will be phased into the law. “Eight states plus the District of Columbia have already increased their minimum wages this year, the most to have done so since 2006.”
What’s the Big Idea?
The wage hike represents uncharted territory for American economists, who are accustomed to seeing wage increases account only for inflation. The $15 rate, however, makes real gains. Observers say a patchwork of different minimum wage laws now populate the American landscape. “Though records are a bit uncertain, people who track minimum wage law say the range of mandated minimums, lowest to highest, is the largest it has been since a national minimum was established by Congress in 1938.” Thus states without a strong economic base risk falling behind the emerging trend of wage increases.