It seems like 2015 will be a year of change for wage-and-hour issues. One area continuing to make headlines is minimum wage. Effective January 1, 2015, nonexempt workers in 20 states saw an increase in their minimum wage. Three of these states passed minimum-wage increases through voter-approved ballot measures in the 2014 general election, while seven state legislatures passed 2015 increases during their respective 2014 legislative sessions. Minimum wage in another 10 states increased in 2015 because of indexed increases in their state laws. This means that a total of 29 states and the District of Columbia now have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage.
As further evidence of this continuing change, on February 19, 2015, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon sent a letter and video to Walmart’s U.S. associates announcing a “package of changes.” The package includes five areas of pending change for Walmart associates.
The most immediate of these changes is an increase in associates’ starting pay. Beginning in April 2015, Walmart will increase its starting rate to $9 per hour or higher (as required by state minimum wage laws) in all markets for all current and future associates. In February 2016, current associates will earn at least $10 per hour, and newly hired associates will move to this rate after completing the six-month onboarding and training programs. Walmart expects this change to impact 500,000 employees and cost $1 billion.