Two states increase minimum wage

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Tuesday was a busy night for political spectators as seats for the House and Senate were up for grabs across the country, but there were two big ballot measures outside the spotlight with big impacts on employers.

A majority of voters in Arkansas and Missouri decided to increase minimum wages in both states.

In Missouri, the measure increases the minimum wage to $8.60 in 2019; $9.45 in 2020; $10.30 in 2021; $11.15 in 2022; and $12 in 2023. Thereafter, the minimum wage will increase or decrease each year based on changes in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. The state's current minimum wage is $7.85 an hour.

Arkansas’ measure bumps up the minimum wage to $9.25 in 2019, $10 in 2020 and $11 in 2021. The state’s current minimum wage is $8.50 an hour.

Despite top Republican lawmakers who opposed the measures in both states, the ballot measure in Arkansas — known as Issue 5 — passed with 68% of the vote, and Missouri’s Proposition B passed with 61% of the vote.

While individual states have passed legislation, a growing number of employers have zeroed in on setting higher wages for their employees, as well.

For example, Walmart and Amazon have recently made plans to increase their workers' minimum wage to $11 and $15 an hour, respectively.

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