Arkansas, Missouri Vote to Raise Minimum Wage
Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor
November 7, 2018
Voters in Arkansas and Missouri have approved ballot initiatives that will gradually increase their statewide minimum wages, as follows:
|January 1, 2019||$9.25||$8.60|
|January 1, 2020||$10.00||$9.45|
|January 1, 2021||$11.00||$10.30|
|January 1, 2022||N/A||$11.15|
|January 1, 2023||N/A||$12.00|
|January 1, 2024||N/A||Adjusted for inflation|
The Missouri ballot initiative also increases the penalty for failing to pay employees the minimum wage. Previously, employers in Missouri that paid employees less than the minimum wage were liable for the full amount of the wage rate and an additional equal amount as liquidated damages, less any amount actually paid to the employee and reasonable attorney fees.
Going forward, employers will be liable for the full amount of the wage rate and an additional amount equal to twice the unpaid wages as liquidated damages, less any amount actually paid to the employee and reasonable attorney fees.
The minimum wage also proved popular at the local level:
- In Oakland, California, voters approved a ballot initiative that will establish workplace protections and a minimum hourly wage of $15 with benefits or $20 without benefits, increasing annually with inflation, for employees of Oakland hotels with 50 or more guest rooms; and
- In Flagstaff, Arizona, voters defeated a ballot initiative that would have decreased the minimum wage in Flagstaff to match the state minimum wage through 2020 and then raise it to 50 cents above the statewide minimum in 2021.
The results underscore the broad support among the electorate for raising the minimum wage. During the past 20 years, every single initiative to raise the minimum wage on the ballot has been approved - not just in "blue" states that tend to vote Democratic but also in "red" states like Arkansas and Missouri.
Employers should expect to see more minimum wage ballot initiatives in future elections. In fact, preparations are already underway in Florida, Nevada and North Dakota to place the issue before voters in the 2020 election.