Dec 30, 2021 - Economy & Business

Record number of minimum wage increases set for 2022

Picture of a protest where people are holding a yellow banner that says "FIGHT FOR $15 AND A UNION"

Photo: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A record number of states and cities will increase their minimum wage rates in 2022, with many exceeding $15, according to a new report.

Driving the news: The National Employment Law Project found that 25 states and 56 municipalities will raise their minimum wages by the end of 2022. In many areas, the wage floor will meet or exceed $15 per hour.

The big picture: Companies are experiencing a labor shortage with workers quitting in large numbers, some permanently, citing low pay as one of the major culprits. Others have engaged in strikes or other forms of worker-led activism.

  • Demands for a higher minimum wage increased with the COVID-19 pandemic: "Low pay, a lack of job security, and poor working conditions are endemic to service and other frontline jobs, with disproportionate effects on Black women, Latinas, and Asian Americans of any gender," NELP writes.
  • November 2022 will mark the 10-year anniversary of Fight for $15, the campaign led by workers of color demanding a $15 minimum wage and a union.

By the numbers: 21 states and 35 cities and counties will increase their minimum wage on Saturday with the rest following suit later in the year.

  • 47 cities and counties will have wages that meet or exceed $15 per hour by the end of 2022. This includes D.C. and 11 California localities where a $15 minimum wage has been met and further wage increases to account for inflation are expected.

There are 10 states with laws in place looking to reach a minimum wage of $15 or more by a specific amount of time, including California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida and Rhode Island.

  • The 10th state, New York, has a law that says minimum wage will increase until it reaches $15. Already in New York City and Westchester County and for all fast food employees statewide, minimum wages are at $15 per hour.

Zoom in: Some of the states that will increase their minimum wages on Jan. 1 will be increasing their rates by $1 or more.

  • In California, the minimum wage will be $14 for small employers and $15 for large employers, increasing from $13 and $14, respectively.

What they're saying: "Underpaid workers, especially Black and brown workers, have been mobilizing to demand higher wages, safer workplace conditions, and dignified jobs — and they’re succeeding," said NELP executive director Rebecca Dixon.

Don't forget: 20 states have not raised their minimum wages above the federal pay level, which has remained at $7.25 per hour since 2009.

Go deeper