2024 Minimum Wage Changes: Everything You Need To Know – Forbes Advisor


Published: Dec 27, 2023, 10:00am

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As we step into 2024, navigating the shifting rules of minimum wage laws across various states becomes more than a mere compliance exercise—it’s a strategic imperative. This article serves as your compass, guiding through significant hikes and subtle tweaks in minimum wage rates from coast to coast. Whether you’re a business owner or a curious observer, these changes impact pockets and policies alike, making an understanding of these evolving changes essential.

Biggest Wage Increases by State

2024 marks a significant year for minimum wage increases across various states. Some states stand out with substantial hikes, adjusting wages to better align with living costs and economic changes.

  • Maryland sees a remarkable increase for larger employers, jumping from $13.25 to $15 per hour. This change reflects the state’s commitment to improving worker earnings in a significant economic hub.
  • Hawaii’s minimum wage is set to rise from $12 to $14 per hour, a notable uplift in a state known for its high cost of living.
  • Both Nebraska and Delaware are increasing their minimum wages by $1.50, marking a meaningful adjustment in these states’ wage structures.

Changes for Tipped Employees

In 2024, there’s a notable shift in how tipped employees are paid in various states. For example, in Hawaii, employers can claim a tip credit of $1.25 per hour, but only if the employee’s total earnings (direct wages plus tips) are at least $7 more per hour than the minimum wage. This means that a tipped employee in Hawaii needs to earn at least $21 per hour, including a minimum of $12.75 in direct wages, to qualify for this credit. However, in states such as Alaska, California, Minnesota and Montana, employers can’t apply a tip credit and must pay the full minimum wage directly.

How To Adjust for Higher Wages as a Business

In response to the 2024 minimum wage increases, businesses must adopt targeted strategies. This involves not just revising budgets but also exploring new operational efficiencies. Could this mean reshaping business models, enhancing productivity or rethinking staffing solutions? It’s about finding a balance where financial sustainability aligns with employee satisfaction and customer service standards. These new wage minimums aren’t just a challenge; it’s an opportunity to innovate and strengthen your business in the long term.

  • Optimize operations: Streamline processes to improve efficiency, reducing elsewhere to offset wage increases.
  • Invest in technology: Automate where possible to enhance productivity.
  • Revise pricing strategies: Adjust pricing to reflect increased labor costs while remaining competitive.
  • Explore outsourcing: Consider outsourcing noncore activities for cost-efficiency.
  • Employee training: Invest in employee training to boost productivity and service quality.
  • Flexibility in staffing: Consider part-time or flexible staffing to manage payroll expenses effectively.

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Bottom Line

As 2024 ushers in notable minimum wage increases, it’s clear this is more than just a regulatory update. It represents a profound shift in how we value work and compensate workers. These changes are a beacon for businesses to not just adjust financially, but to also embrace a future where fair pay is key to thriving. For employees, it’s a stride towards earnings that truly reflect the cost of living. This period of transition is not just about meeting new standards; it’s an opportunity to redefine the ethos of the workplace, where equitable wages become a pillar of economic and social health.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Has the federal minimum wage changed?

Considering the federal minimum wage has been stagnant at $7.25 per hour since July 24, 2009, and the fact that you’d need $1.43 in 2023 to buy the same things you could with $1 in 2009 because of inflation, it highlights a significant challenge: for workers earning minimum wage now have less purchasing power than they did over a decade ago, despite earning the same nominal dollar amount.

How does minimum wage apply to remote employees working in different jurisdictions?

When your business is based in one state and employs remote workers in another, the minimum wage laws of the state where the employee is physically working usually apply. This means if you have remote employees across different states, you must comply with the minimum wage requirements of each specific location where your employees are working.

When do minimum wage changes apply?

Most 2024 minimum wage updates take place on January 1, 2024. However, some jurisdictions, such as Oregon, update these on July 1, 2024.

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Katherine Haan, MBA is a former financial advisor-turned-writer and business coach. For over a decade, she’s helped small business owners make money online. When she’s not trying out the latest tech or travel blogging with her family, you can find her curling up with a good novel.

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