Rhode Island’s Governor Lincoln Chafee has been handed a bill for signage that would raise the state’s minimum wage rate for non-exempt employees from $7.40 to $7.75 per hour. According to CBS News, the bill was first approved by the Rhode Island Senate and then passed 60-8 in the House of Representatives. The increase would go into effect at the start of 2013. The minimum wages of Massachusetts and Connecticut are $8 per hour and $8.25 per hour, respectively.
Rhode Island’s presumed wage hike comes as more national conversation occurs over the rate guaranteed under the FLSA. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill) introduced a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.00 per hour, reflecting the fact that the minimum wage in 1968 was the equivalent of over $10 per hour in today’s terms. Additionally, in March Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced a bill that would increase the minimum wage by 35 percent, from $7.25 to $9.80, over the course of two and a half years. It would then be indexed it so it rises with the cost of living.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is federal legislation that sets a minimum wage rate for the entire country, but states can choose to increase their own minimum wages if they want. The FLSA rate is $7.25 per hour for non-exempt employees. Five states (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee) do not set a minimum wage, while Wyoming, Missouri, Georgia, and Arkansas rates are actually below that guaranteed under the FLSA. Employees in these states receive the FLSA-set minimum hourly wage of $7.25/hour. Currently, eighteen states and Washington, D.C. have minimum wages above the federal rate.
Have you been averaging the guaranteed FLSA minimum wage or the higher minimum wage set by your state? If you do not make the federal or state-specific minimum wage, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit to recover unpaid wages. The lawyers at Morgan & Morgan are experienced in litigating FLSA and minimum wage cases, as well as overtime violations. To tell your story and hear about your options, fill out the simple case review from on the right.