Published: Thu, January 03, 2019
Business | By Eloise Houston

New year, new minimum-wage rate as of January 1, 2019

New year, new minimum-wage rate as of January 1, 2019

Since 2009, the federal minimum wage has stalled at $7.25 an hour, but that's about to change for 20 states. Those in New York City who work for small employers with 10 or less employees will see a minimum wage increase from $12 to $13.50 an hour.

South Dakota is one of 20 states that are raising minimum wages for 2019.

Volunteer firefighters in NY state are eligible for accidental disability and death benefits through Workers' Compensation if they are injured in the line of duty, but beginning January 1, 2019, they'll also be eligible for health benefits to support treatment for certain life-threatening cancers.

In three places, the minimum wage increase will not take effect until later this year.

Employers face a fine of $1,000 per violation if they are found liable for intentionally violating minimum wage requirements.

The state and local wage laws come amid a multi-year push by unions and liberal advocacy groups to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour nationwide. "There's no big pot of money out there to get the money out of" for the required pay raises, Wiggins said.

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A $15 hourly rate - up from $13 - kicks in on December 31 for the city's fast food workers and employees of businesses with 11 or more people. That's more than twice the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

For New Yorkers in Long Island and Westchester, their minimum wage will go from $11 an hour to $12. Many states are raising this maximum as well.

In October, however, those same researchers reached a contrasting conclusion. Some have repeatedly raised their rates. Workers in Birmingham, Alabama's largest city, have been fighting the state in court since 2016 over whether the city has the right to raise its wages.

"It may not have motivated every lawmaker to agree that we should go to $15", said David Cooper, senior economic analyst at the Economic Policy Institute.

And others say minimum wages are important, but city and states, rather than the federal government, should set them because the cost of living varies widely across the country. "But it's motivated many of them to accept that we need higher minimum wages than we now have in much of the country".

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