Category Archives: Minimum Wage

Federal government trails 23 states on minimum wage

Source: Mary Gable, Economic Policy Institute, Economic Snapshot, July 23, 2008

The second part of a multi-stage hike in the federal minimum wage takes effect July 24, raising the wage from $5.85 to $6.55 per hour. But many states and the District of Columbia are a step ahead of the federal government when it comes to guaranteeing a fair wage. This week’s Economic Snapshot illustrates which states have a higher-than-federal minimum wage.

New Estimates of the Effects of Minimum Wages in the U.S. Retail Trade Sector

Source: John T. Addison, McKinley L. Blackburn, Chad D. Cotti, IZA Discussion Paper No. 3597, July 2008

This paper examines the impact of minimum wages on earnings and employment in selected branches of the retail-trade sector, 1990-2005, using county-level data on employment and a panel regression framework that allows for county-specific trends in sectoral outcomes. We focus on particular subsectors within retail trade that are identified as particularly low-wage. We find little evidence of disemployment effects once we allow for geographic-specific trends. Rather, in many sectors the evidence suggests modest (but robust) positive employment effects. One explanation we consider for these ‘perverse’ effects is that minimum wages may have significant influences on product demand shifts.

NCSL 50-State Legislative Tracking Web Resources

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, June 2008

At the request of NCSL’s Legislative Research Librarians (LRL) staff section, NCSL has developed this resource of 50-state compilations covering various issues that concern state legislators and legislative staff. Here you will find a topical, alphabetical listing of legislative and statutory databases, compilations and state charts/maps.

[NOTE: Some of these tracking services are currently out of date. PLEASE NOTE THE DATE of the item you are reviewing].

Labor & Employment

At-Will Employment
Day Laborer Laws (statutes)
Drugtesting in the Workplace
State Divestment Legislation
Equal Pay (statutes and legislation)
Family/Medical Leave Laws (statutes)
Living Wage (legislation)
Medical Donar Leave Laws (statutes)
Minimum Wage Laws (legislation and chart)
Minors – Employment Laws (statutes)
Non-compete Agreements (statutes)
Overtime Laws (statutes)
Sick Leave Laws (statutes)
Telecommuting (statutes and legislation)
Whistleblowers (statutes)
Workforce Development (legislation and resources)

The Effect of Minimum Wages on Wages and Employment: County-Level Estimates for the United States

Source: John T. Addison, McKinley L. Blackburn, Chad D. Cotti, Institute for the Study of Labor, IZA DP No. 3300, January 2008

We use county-level data on employment and earnings in the restaurant-and-bar sector to evaluate the impact of minimum wage changes on low-wage labor markets. Our empirical approach is similar to the literature that has used state-level panel data to estimate minimum-wage impacts, with the difference that we focus on a particular sector rather than demographic group. Our estimated models are consistent with a simple competitive model of the restaurant-and-bar labor market in which supply-and-demand factors affect both the equilibrium outcome and the probability that a minimum wage will be binding in any given time period. Our evidence does not suggest that minimum wages reduce employment in the overall restaurant-and-bar sector, after controls for trends in sector employment at the county level are incorporated in the model. Employment in this sector appears to exhibit a downward long-term trend in states that have increased their minimum wages relative to states that have not, thereby predisposing fixed-effects estimates towards finding negative employment effects.

Decent Work with a Living Wage

Source: Michael J. Zimmer, Seton Hall Public Law Research Paper No. 1072083, 2008
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The effects of globalization on employment justify augmenting the fundamental principles articulated in the ILO’s 1998 Declaration by including a global goal of decent work with a living wage. Adding the principle of decent work with a living wage can help keep labor law relevant because it can be the organizing principle for an array of unions and other groups interested in worker welfare to push for its implementation as a matter of international, regional and national law. The goal of decent work with a living wage can be a rallying cry to help overcome the prevailing neoliberal assumption that the present set of very limited regulations of the market is a natural law. Regaining the intellectual high ground for claims of worker rights to decent work with a living wage can be the product for, but also the cause of, organized action by those who share values in fair treatment at a global level. Unions, but also other NGOs, need to see that it is in their long term interest as well as the long term interest of the workers it claims to represent to reach across borders to work together to achieve this goal. Conflicting strategic interests and different legal and organizational cultures make this a daunting goal, but one worth pursuing.

Voters Give Workers a Raise: Money Raised Around the Minimum Wage Ballot Measures in Six States in 2006

Source: Linda Casey, National Institute on Money in State Politics, October 11, 2007

From the press release:
Voters in six states chose to raise their state’s minimum wage in 2006 through ballot measures that generated nearly $14.4 million in political donations, a new report finds.

Although more than 950 contributors chipped in money, 31 gave in more than one state and accounted for 41 percent of the total given, the study by the National Institute on Money in State Politics discovered. These contributors were led by the National Education Association (NEA), which spread $963,000 across four states. In total, labor unions were responsible for nearly two-thirds of the money given by these contributors.

Business interests, which generally opposed wage hikes, accounted for 41 percent — or $5.9 million — of the $14.4 million, while labor organizations, which supported wage increases, contributed 34 percent of the total, or $4.9 million.

Living Wage Ordinances in the Public Sector

Source: C.W. Von Bergen, William T. Mawer and Barlow Soper, Public Personnel Management, Vol. 36 no. 3, Fall 2007
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During the last decade more than 100 governmental units (primarily cities) have implemented living wage ordinances. These regulations require private sector employers who receive public funds through subsidies and contracts to pay their workforces a wage based on “need” rather than “skill.” Such ordinances feature a minimum wage floor that is higher–often much higher–than the traditional minimum wages set by state and federal legislation. This paper provides a history of the living wage movement and presents its benefits and challenges to assist local authorities in decision-making regarding this controversial and politicized issue.

The Economic Effects of a Citywide Minimum Wage

Source: Arindrajit Dube, Suresh Naidu, and Michael Reich, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, July 2007
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This paper presents the first study of the economic effects of a citywide minimum wage—San Francisco’s adoption of an indexed minimum wage, set at $8.50 in 2004 and $9.14 by 2007. Compared to earlier benchmark studies by Card and Krueger and by Neumark and Wascher, this study surveys table-service as well as fast-food restaurants, includes more control groups, and collects data for more outcomes. The authors find that the policy increased worker pay and compressed wage inequality, but did not create any detectable employment loss among affected restaurants. The authors also find smaller amounts of measurement error than characterized the earlier studies, and so they can reject previous negative employment estimates with greater confidence. Fast-food and table-service restaurants responded differently to the policy, with a small price increase and substantial increases in job tenure and in the proportion of full-time workers among fast-food restaurants, but not among table-service restaurants.

Make It Real: Bringing the New Minimum Wage Home

Source: Beth Shulman, National Employment Law Project Board Chair and Catherine Ruckelshaus, Litigation Director, National Employment Law Project, July 24, 2007

Today, the nation’s low-wage workers will start to get the raise the country voted to give them as the federal minimum wage hike goes into effect. The pay floor will rise from $5.15 per hour to $5.85, and then to $7.25 in two years.

But will it really happen?

The hike sounds good on paper, and we might assume the new law will put more money into the pockets of the workers who need it most. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. First we need to make sure employers obey the law, since a. lot of low-road employers flouted the minimum wage law even at $5.15.