Rhode Island Will Raise Minimum Wage to $9.60 to Keep Up With Neighbors

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

June 19, 2015

Rhode Island's governor has signed a bill that will raise the state's minimum wage from $9.00 to $9.60 on January 1, 2016.

The bill's sponsors said the increase was necessary for Rhode Island to keep pace with surrounding states like Connecticut (where the minimum wage will also rise to $9.60 in 2016) and Massachusetts (where the minimum wage will rise to $10.00 in 2016).

The northeast has the highest average minimum wage rate of the nation's four main geographical regions.

Over the past several years, the minimum wage has increased significantly in states with a high cost of living. In addition, a growing number of cities, most recent among them Los Angeles, have begun enacting their own local minimum wages.

Meanwhile, the minimum wage has held steady in other states with a lower cost of living.

One observer has argued that this diversity in minimum wages will allow policymakers to better understand the economic consequences of minimum wage changes.