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Maine, Montana, Washington announce minimum wage increases

Maine, Montana and Washington have announced minimum wage increases as follows:

The minimum wage in Maine is now $7.00 per hour, reflecting a 25-cent increase from the state's previous minimum wage rate of $6.75 per hour (Maine Department of Labor Press Release, September 27, 2007).

Certain employers are exempt from paying the minimum wage. Tipped employees may be paid one-half the regular minimum wage provided the employer makes up the difference if tips plus the hourly wage do not average at least the minimum wage. The Minimum Wage Poster, which employers must display, lists additional exemptions.

The minimum wage rate in Montana will increase to $6.25 per hour effective January 1, 2008. On October 3, Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly announced the 10-cent-per-hour, cost-of-living increase pursuant to Initiative 151 (Montana Department of Labor and Industry, Commissionerís Office, Media Release, October 3, 2007).

Voters approved Initiative 151 in the November 2006 General Election, raising the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $6.15 per hour, effective January 1, 2007. Initiative 151 also requires an adjustment to the minimum wage to be calculated no later than September 30 of each year based upon any increase in the U.S. City Average CPI for All Urban Consumers for All Items from August of the preceding year to August of the year in which the calculation is made. This amount is to be rounded to the nearest five cents. Based on an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 1.97% from August 2006 to August 2007, the calculation used for determining the minimum wage rate for 2008 is as follows: $6.15 X .0197 -- $.1211, rounded to $0.10.

The initiative also states the minimum wage is to be the greater of the federal or current state minimum wage. Effective July 24, 2008, the minimum wage will increase to $6.55 per hour, based on the federal minimum wage increase.

The minimum wage in Washington will increase by 14 cents to $8.07 an hour beginning January 1, 2008 (Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) News Release, October 1, 2007.)

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) recalculates the state's minimum wage each year in September as required by Initiative 688, which was approved by Washington voters in 1998. The law requires that the state minimum wage be adjusted each year according to the change in the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) during the 12 months ending each August 31.

The CPI-W is a national index covering the cost of goods and services needed for day-to-day living. It increased 1.8 percent during the 12-month period ending in August, compared to a 3.9 percent increase during the same period in 2006, which led to a 30-cents-an-hour increase in the 2007 minimum wage.

The 1.8 percent increase, applied to Washington's current minimum wage of $7.93 an hour, generated a 14-cent increase in next year's minimum wage. Washington's minimum wage applies to workers in both agricultural and non-agricultural jobs, although 14- and 15-year-olds may be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage.

For more information on this and other topics, consult CCH Employment Practices Guide or CCH Labor Relations.

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