MONTPELIER (AP) — Vermont’s minimum wage went up 14 cents an hour, effective New Year’s Day, to $8.60 per hour.
That’s according to a state law that says the wage will go up each year by either 5 percent or an amount that matches the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less.
The minimum wage for workers in places like hotels and restaurants, who rely on tips for a significant part of their income, went from $4.10 to $4.17.
Such increases often trigger raises for workers making just above the minimum wage, as well.
According to the Public Assets Institute, the increase will affect an estimated 11,000 low-wage workers in the state. Vermont’s minimum wage increase means an extra $240 per year in wages for the average affected worker, and the increased consumer spending generated by the minimum wage hike will boost gross domestic product by $1.4 million, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute. Vermont was one of 10 states that raised state minimum wage rates on New Year’s Day, boosting wages for nearly one million workers nationwide.
“Vermont’s modest annual minimum wage increases have proven incredibly valuable in promoting economic growth and protecting the real value of low-wage workers’ paychecks during the weak post-recession recovery,” said Paul Cillo, president of the Public Assets Institute. “Congress should learn from Vermont’s example and pass a federal minimum wage increase with annual cost of living adjustments to promote consumer spending and help cash-strapped workers make ends meet.”
As of New Year’s Day, 19 states plus the District of Columbia have minimum wage rates above the federal level of $7.25 per hour, which is just over $15,000 per year for a full-time minimum wage earner.