How many states have a $15 minimum wage? As of September 2021, the answer is zero.
But that won’t be the case for long.
Several states have scheduled minimum wage increases to reach $15 an hour in the coming years. Plus, others have indexed rates, which will, however slowly, eventually bring them to the $15 threshold (barring new legislation).
The information below applies to standard rates for large employers. HR and compliance teams should also be sure to check their locations for applicable county and city rates, which may be higher.
Minimum Wage Management. Simplified.
States Moving Toward $15 Minimum Wage
In recent years, a handful of states have passed legislation that will eventually bring their standard rates to $15 an hour.
That $15 figure is important. It represents the nationwide push for higher rates, highlighted by the Fight for $15 movement, as well as employers opting to make it their own minimum wage rate.
As of this writing, states moving toward a $15 minimum wage include:
For large employers, the $15 minimum wage rate begins Jan. 1, 2022. Indexing begins Jan. 1, 2024, when the rate will be adjusted via the consumer price index.
Today, the state minimum wage rate in California is $14.
July 1, 2021, Minimum Wage Rates: California Cities
Connecticut minimum wage will reach $15 on June 1, 2023, with indexing beginning Jan. 1, 2024.
Employers should also note the state plans to increase minimum wage to $14 on July 1, 2022.
Minimum wage in Connecticut is currently $13.
Minimum wage in Delaware will hit $15 on Jan. 1, 2025.
The state passed a bill in July 2021 that provides for gradual increases, with the first taking effect at the start of 2022.
Currently, minimum wage in Delaware is $9.25.
Following a voter-approved ballot referendum in November 2020, Florida will reach a $15 minimum wage Sept. 30, 2026.
Because of the ballot measure, Florida sees its minimum wage increase twice in 2021. It will go up to $10 on Sept. 30, with $1 increases each year until hitting $15 in 2026.
In Illinois, the state passed a law in 2019 to eventually bring minimum wage to $15 in 2025.
The state is on a regular increase schedule, going up $1 each year on Jan. 1. Illinois minimum wage is currently $11.
Maryland was another state that passed a 2019 law to move toward a $15 minimum wage.
It will reach the $15 threshold in 2025, with scheduled increases in the intervening years. Minimum wage in 2021 in Maryland is $11.75.
In Massachusetts, the state will reach the $15 mark Jan. 1, 2023.
Another increase is scheduled for Jan. 1, 2022, at $14.25. The minimum wage in Massachusetts today is $13.50.
In New Jersey, minimum wage for large employers reaches $15 in 2024, with indexed rates beginning the next year.
It also has scheduled increases in the coming years. In 2021, minimum wage in New Jersey is $12.
In May 2021, Rhode Island passed a bill to bring minimum wage to $15 on Jan. 1, 2025.
In 2021, minimum wage in Rhode Island is $11.50.
Virginia took the unique action last year to delay a planned minimum wage increase due to the economic impacts of COVID-19.
Still, the state is on track to reach $15 on Jan. 1, 2026, with indexed rates in the succeeding years.
Virginia minimum wage has scheduled increases until 2026, with the current rate at $9.50.
Including Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital reached $15 on July 1, 2020, and is currently at $15.20.
Indexing is in effect.
States With Indexed Rates
The states listed above have plans for a $15 minimum wage. However, others have passed laws that include annual increases based on the consumer price index or its equivalent.
Below are states with indexing requirements, along with their minimum wage rate as of September 2021. (Note that Oregon is a unique case.)
- Alaska – In effect; current rate: $10.34
- Arizona – In effect; current rate: $12.15
- Colorado – In effect; current rate: $12.32
- Maine – In effect; current rate: $12.15
- Minnesota – In effect; current rate: $10.08
- Missouri – Effective Jan. 1, 2024; current rate: $10.30
- Montana – In effect; current rate: $8.75
- New York – Effective Dec. 31, 2021; current rate: $12.50
- Ohio – In effect; current rate: $8.80
- Oregon – Effective July 1, 2023; separate rates depending on county population density
- South Dakota – In effect; current rate: $9.45
- Vermont – Effective Jan. 1, 2023; current rate: $11.75
- Washington – In effect; current rate: $13.69
Other State Minimum Wage Rates
Of course, some states have minimum wage rates above the federal level but without plans to reach the $15 mark — neither through scheduled increases nor indexing.
Those states are listed below, along with their current rate. (Note that some have scheduled increases in the coming years.)
- Arkansas – $11
- Hawaii – $10.10
- Michigan – $9.65
- Nebraska – $9
- New Mexico – $10.50
- Nevada – $9.75 (for employees not offered health benefits; $8.75 for those who are)
- West Virginia – $8.75
States at Federal Minimum Wage
Lastly, there are a number of states that still go by the federal minimum wage. They are:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- South Carolina
Managing minimum wage rates across multiple states is challenging. And that’s not even considering the dozens of cities and counties that have set their own rates in recent years.
With many states closing in on their final scheduled increases, compliance teams will have to move to tracking indexed rates.