Minimum wage increase to take effect
MONTPELIER — Vermont’s minimum wage will increase from $9.15 to $9.60 on Jan. 1. A 2014 law mandates that the wage rise each year until it reaches $10.50 in 2018.
The legislation signed by Gov. Shumlin in June 2014 raised the minimum wage from $8.73 to $9.15 in 2015. After rising to $9.60 in 2016, the wage will increase to $10 in 2017 and $10.50 in 2018. It will be indexed to inflation in subsequent years.
Vermont was one of the first to answer President Obama’s call for states to bypass Congress and raise the minimum wage. Vermont has one of the highest stateside minimum wages in America, although some cities have set their minimum wages as high as $15 per hour.
California’s per hour minimum wage will rise to $10 on Jan. 1, and the wage in the District of Columbia will rise to $11 next July 1. Many states have a state minimum wage equal to the federal rate of $7.25 per hour. Five states — Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi — have no state minimum wage. New Hampshire repealed its minimum wage law in 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Gov. Shumlin’s office pointed out that the increase in Vermont’s minimum wage has corresponded with strong job growth from Vermont employers. According to the Vermont Department of Labor, since the law went into effect a year ago Vermont employers have added 3,200 jobs.
“I was proud to sign this law and I am pleased to see the minimum wage rise once again next year,” Shumlin said in a release. “Giving a boost to hard working Vermonters is not only the right thing to do; it is also good for our economy as a whole.”