4 states vote to raise minimum wage

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Restaurateurs in four states will be required to pay a higher minimum wage as a result of voters’ decision on Tuesday to give themselves a pay hike.

Wage increases were approved in referenda votes in Washington, Arizona, Colorado and Maine.

A referendum proposal to lower the minimum wage for teenagers to $7.50 an hour was defeated in South Dakota. The minimum there remains at $8.55 for all workers.

The hikes approved in Arizona, Colorado and Maine will raise the pay floor in stages to $12 by 2020.

Washington voters greenlighted a stepped rise to $13.50 by 2020.

The proposals put to voters in Arizona and Washington also mandated paid leave time from employers.

In Arizona, restaurants employing more than 15 full-time staff members will be required to provide 40 hours of paid sick time per employee per year. Places with smaller staffs have to provide 24 hours. The leave time would accrue at the rate of one hour per 30 worked.

In Washington, employers are required to provide employees one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 they work.

The increases approved yesterday further extend a patchwork of minimum wages nationwide. Some states remain at the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour, while California and New York have approved a gradual increase to $15.

Before his election as president, Republican Party candidate Donald Trump had indicated he’d prefer to let states determine their respective minimum wage instead of having the federal government set the pay floor.

His opponent, Hillary Clinton, had said she’d sign legislation to hike the federal minimum to $15 an hour, the so-called living wage.

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