Across the nation, many states and cities have seen increases in wages within the last two months. The recent “living wage” debates and protests have brought attention to the daily struggles of workers who make the hourly minimum wage. Across the U.S., officials have responded and made steps toward increasing the minimum wage to a more suitable pay for workers to live and thrive on.
Two of the biggest examples of this are the city of Seattle and the state of Oregon.
Seattle saw a $2 increase on certain wages in an attempt to reach a $15 minimum wage by 2021. This sets a precedent by making Seattle the city with the highest minimum wage in the U.S.
Oregon’s House of Representatives also recently passed legislation that would increase wages statewide. Wages would increase from $9.25 an hour to $14.75 in Portland, $13.50 in smaller cities, and $12.50 in rural communities by 2022, making Oregon the U.S. state with the highest minimum wage.
Minimum Wage in Colorado
In Colorado, minimum wage workers saw an increase in their wages as well. This increase was not brought upon by new legislation but by the Colorado Constitution, which calls to adjust the minimum wage to account for inflation. 2015 brought a 1% increase according to Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. Therefore, Colorado workers went from making $8.23 an hour in 2015 to $8.31 in 2016 due to the adjustment.
Of course this is good news for Colorado workers, but is it enough? According to data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the answer is no. The NLIHC 2015 Out of Reach Report shows that Colorado citizens who work minimum wage jobs would have to work 2.4 full time minimum wage jobs in order to afford a 2-bedroom apartment at fair market rent. The data reveals the enormous difficulties minimum wage workers face in order to make a living in Colorado.
When you add other expenses like transportation or health costs to the equation, the challenges of working a minimum wage job continue to add up. This is why it’s important to fight for workers’ rights on all fronts. Wage increases, health insurance and workers’ compensation all contribute to the success of individuals hoping to improve their lives.
Ensuring Colorado workers’ compensation rights is a priority at the Babcock Law Firm. Our expertise in workers’ compensation claims can help employees get the compensation they deserve. Learn how representation works by contacting us today.