The start of the new year was expected to bring a higher minimum wage in several states and municipalities across the country. The perceived employee rights to a wage indexed to inflation was behind 13 states hiking up the lowest pay rates, while Congress is considering raising the federal minimum wage for the lowest-paid workers in the country. Washington state, which already offered employees the highest minimum wage in the nation, will keep that title with its $9.32 per hour rate.
Most of the state-level hikes were due to adjustments to bring wages into line with the inflation index. Thirty-one U.S. states don't specify a particular minimum wage and so follow the federal level, which was last raised in 2009. This federal wage is not associated with any kind of index, but some in Washington, D.C., think that it should be. One group opposed to higher wages stated in a press release that paying these employees more per hour would have what it called disastrous results for the most vulnerable workers.
Hourly pay is subject to Fair Labor Standards Act rules. In cases where employee rights have been violated by the requirement of unpaid overtime or wrongful termination, workers may be able to bring a lawsuit against their employers or former employers.
Source: The Huffington Post, "13 States Will Raise Their Minimum Wage For The New Year", Dave Jamieson, December 23, 2013