Last week, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council joined a growing list of U.S. cities and local governments that are considering an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour. If enacted, the proposed plan would take effect over the next three years and is expected to impact more than 31,000 employees in Fayette County who earn less than $10.10 per hour.
The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council proposal is similar to a measure that was recently enacted by the Louisville Metro Council in 2014, which will increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9 per hour by 2017. Louisville was the 12th U.S. city to raise its minimum wage in 2014.
The Kentucky General Assembly is considering a state-wide increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour over the next two years, but many forecasters are doubtful that the bill will pass. A similar bill failed in the Kentucky Senate last year.
Currently, twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages that are above the $7.25 federal minimum wage. The minimum wage in California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington is $9 or higher.
While it’s difficult to anticipate which city, local government or state will be next, it’s clear that the minimum wage movement is gaining momentum. Employers must pay close attention to similar proposals in their area and be prepared to respond to the evolving environment.