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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Minimum wage increase impacts Arizona

Arizona’s minimum wage will increase to $8.05 per hour starting in January 2015.

The change is a 15-cent increase from the previous wage at $7.90 and 80 cents higher than the federal minimum wage at $7.25.

The increase in minimum wage is part of Proposition 202, approved by Arizona voters in 2006, which calls for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to increase the minimum wage to the nearest 5 cents based on increases in the cost of living. The commission has raised the state minimum wage by $1.30 in the last seven years. The last raise came in January 2014 when the minimum wage went up from $7.80 to the current $7.90.

Arizona is one of 13 states to adjust their minimum wage, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Colorado, Nevada, Montana, Florida and Missouri are among the six states that also adjust their minimum wage based on increases in the cost of living. Additionally, Oregon, Vermont and Washington adjust minimum wage rates for inflation based on the U.S. city average consumer price index.

According to the Pew Research Center, 4.3 percent of the U.S. workforce earns the federal or below the federal minimum wage. Almost half of those workers are between the ages 16 and 24 and work in the leisure and hospitality industry, and about 64 percent are part-time workers.

The UA is not required to abide by the Arizona minimum wage, but instead must abide by the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour, said Michelle Meyer, payroll manager at the UA. Meyer added that in recent years, the UA has chosen to pay its employees the higher Arizona minimum wage.

Meyer said university employees are not guaranteed to see a 15-cent increase come January. She said that since Human Resources does not have to comply with Arizona’s pay increases, the university has a choice on how much to pay its employees.“While [the] UA doesn’t have to follow Arizona’s minimum wage, many workers around the university already get paid higher than the new Arizona minimum wage,” Meyer added.

In Arizona, numerous minimum wage employees and student workers were unaware of the upcoming increase and are excited about it.

“It’s a good idea,” said Claire McCarthy, a receptionist at Beach Bunnie Tanning Salon on Main Gate Square. “I’m from Illinois where it’s $8.25, so coming there to here, it sucks. If it’s going up, that’s fantastic.” McCarthy also said she believes 15 cents will absolutely make a difference in her paycheck.


Follow Felipe Moreno on Twitter.

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