The lowest-paid workers in Rhode Island will soon have more money to spend, thanks to an increase in minimum wage that independent Governor Lincoln Chafee signed into law last week.
The increase takes Rhode Island’s minimum-wage rate from $7.40 to $7.75 per hour. The new rate will take effect at the beginning of 2013.
As one of 18 states that has a minimum-wage rate above the Federal level, Rhode Island already recognizes the need for its residents to earn wages they can live off of. Even still, the state—with an independent governor—realized the need to lift the ceiling even higher.
The minimum-wage boost not only acknowledges the important work low-wage employees perform every day, but it recognizes the fact that families have needs greater than what low wages can provide.
“In addition to helping working families make ends meet, boosting wages for the lowest-paid help sustain consumer spending and spur economy recovery,” said Christine Owens, Executive Director of the National Employment Law Project. “More and more lawmakers are recognizing its time to address failing wages and they have the public’s strong support.”
A number of other states, including Illinois, Missouri, New York and New Jersey are also considering proposals to raise minimum-wage rates this year. In addition, Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) have introduced legislation aimed at increasing the federal minimum-wage rate.