Starting from January 1, 2024, the minimum wage in Arizona will rise from $13.85 to $14.35.
According to the Industrial Commission of Arizona, the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act has led to a 50-cent increase in the state’s minimum wage. This act sets a new minimum wage every year until 2020, with subsequent annual raises based on the rise in the cost of living.
According to Trevor Laky, the chief of legislative affairs at the ICA, they base the increase of minimum wage on the consumer price index provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They simply look at how the index has increased from year to year and adjust the minimum wage accordingly. Laky stated that the process is already established for them, and they just need to put it into writing.
According to Naomi Saria, an economist at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the recent hike in minimum wage is a direct response to the escalating living expenses in the densely populated cities of the state.
Saria pointed out that in the Phoenix area, the CPUI, which measures the amount that urban consumers are paying, has increased by 2.9% over the past year. This rise in prices could be a contributing factor to the push for an increase in the minimum wage. Moreover, prices have gone up by 3.4% over the last four months alone.
Despite the federal minimum wage remaining at $7.25 since 2009, Saria noted that numerous major metropolitan areas in the United States are experiencing similar developments.
Saria shared that there has been a recent increase in the minimum wage in San Francisco by $1.08, bringing it up to $18.07. According to her, this increase is a result of the inflation rate going up over time and an effort to assist individuals in meeting their daily expenses in the region. She also noticed a comparable trend in Arizona where the cost of living is high, particularly in densely populated metropolitan areas.
As a business-focused junior majoring in public service and public policy, Marian Rosenberry is employed at the ASU Tempe campus for a food service job that currently pays her minimum wage. Unfortunately, despite her hard work, she is not allowed to take home any tips from her job.
Rosenberry’s colleagues have brought to her attention that her earnings, after taxes, amount to less than the minimum wage. Despite her job being on-campus, she is not permitted to receive tips, which she was unaware of. “I didn’t realize that I make no supplemental income,” Rosenberry stated. She believes that her job warrants tips, but unfortunately, she is not allowed to accept them.
Raise the Wage AZ has presented the Arizona Minimum Wage Increase Initiative, which could potentially appear on the ballot on Nov. 5, 2024. The initiative aims to raise the minimum wage to $18 per hour and has a deadline of July 3, 2024.
Under the initiative, employees who earn tips would receive a minimum wage as their base pay. Additionally, small businesses, which were previously exempt from paying the federal minimum wage, would need to pay their employees the state minimum wage. Despite the wage increase, Rosenberry expressed reservations about fully celebrating the news.
Rosenberry questioned whether inflation is truly on the rise or if it’s simply following the same upward trend as all other expenses. “Is it actually increasing, or is it just moving up the same way that everything else is moving up in costs?” he pondered.
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