Monday, September 24, 2007

Oregon's Minimum Wage

Oregon's minimum wage, already among the nation's highest, will go up 15 cents to $7.95 an hour beginning in January 1st, 2008, announced on Wednesday by Dan Gardner, Oregon Labor Commissioner. That's two dollars more than the federal minimum wage, which is $5.85 and also slightly above the minimum wage in Washington State, which is $7.93.

The increase equals to about $30 more every month. Dan Gardner said “What you can do with $30 a month, if you’re a single mother for instance, is buy your kid a pair of shoes and a winter coat. And that’s what it amounts to to the worker.” Oregon's minimum wage law makes sure the workers with low income keep pace with the rising cost of living.

The increase follows passage of a 2002 ballot measure, which tied the wage to the Consumer Price Index, a measure of inflation. Oregon must recalculate the wage annually in September.

Recently the Congress raised the minimum wage to $5.85 per hour and states across the nation also have pushed up their minimum wages. About 17 states even have minimum wages higher than the federal rate.

Dan Gardner said that the 15 cents increase would make Oregon's minimum wage the third highest in the nation, slightly behind California and Massachusetts' minimums wage of $8 an hour. He also said that the state of Washington's minimum wage, currently at $7.93 per hour also is linked to the cost of living and is expected to remain the highest in the nation in 2008.