PUBLIC POLICY

2013 brings minimum wage increase for R.I. workers

COURTESY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
RHODE ISLAND INCREASED its minimum wage to $7.75 an hour on Jan. 1. Above: The minimum wage rates compared to the national average as of Jan. 1, 2013.
Posted 1/2/13

PROVIDENCE – On Jan. 1, Rhode Island’s minimum wage rose 35 cents to $7.75 an hour, increasing the average minimum wage worker’s annual pay by $510.

Rhode Island was one of nine states – plus the District of Columbia – to increase their state minimum wage rates on New Year’s Day, including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon and Vermont. Collectively, this will raise wage rates for roughly 1 million workers across the United States.

The Ocean State last increased its minimum wage in 2007 and, according to a December release from the Rhode Island branch of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, the 2013 wage increase affected an estimated 29,000 low-income workers in the state.

The Economic Policy Institute estimates that roughly 11,000 workers in Rhode Island were directly impacted by increasing their hourly wage and 18,000 workers saw a raise as pay scales are adjusted upward to reflect their new minimum wage.

According to the institute, 64 percent of these workers are adults older than 20, 69 percent work 20 hours or more a week and 40 percent have at least some college education.

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