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Montana Increases Minimum Wage To $8.75

The Montana Department of Labor and Industry reminds Montanans that workers earning minimum wage should now be getting paid $8.75 per hour. The rate increase became effective on Jan. 1.

An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 Montana workers — 2 percent of the workforce — received hourly wages less than $8.75 per hour in 2020 and are likely to receive higher wages due to the 2021 minimum wage increase.

The minimum wage is determined by taking the current minimum wage of $8.65 and increasing it by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers increase from August of 2019 to August 2020. The CPI-U increased by 1.31 percent (unadjusted) over the year ending August 2020. To keep the minimum wage at the same purchasing power as the prior year, the wage should increase by $0.11 per hour. However, since state statute requires the wage to rounded to the nearest 5 cents, the 2021 minimum wage rate will be $8.75.

In 2006 as a private citizen, Gov. Steve Bullock led ballot initiative I-156 to raise the minimum wage and require that it be adjusted annually for inflation. Approved by Montana voters, Montana Code Annotated 39-3-409 requires the Montana Department of Labor & Industry to adjust the Montana minimum wage for inflation using the CPI-U.

Montana was one of 20 states that increased its minimum wage at the start of 2021. The federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour hasn’t changed since 2009. A total of 20 states will continue to have a minimum wage either equal to or below the federal level.

Other states that increased their minimum wage on Jan. 1 included Alaska to $10.34; Arizona, $12.15; Arkansas, $11; California, $14; Colorado, $12.32; Florida, $8.65; Illinois, $11; Maine, $12.15; Maryland, $11.75; Massachusetts, $13.50; Minnesota, $10.08; Missouri, $10.30; New Jersey, $12; New Mexico, $10.50; New York, $12.50; Ohio, $8.80; South Dakota, $9.45; Vermont, $11.75; and Washington, $13.69.

The largest increase was $1.50 in New Mexico. States increasing their minimum wage by $1 were Arkansas, California, Illinois and New Jersey.

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