Virginia Minimum Wage Set to Increase on January 1

by Madison Hirneisen


Virginia’s minimum wage is set to increase from $11 to $12 per hour Jan. 1, a rise that comes after an attempt by Republican lawmakers to halt the minimum wage increase failed earlier this year.

The increase comes as a result of 2020 law that outlined incremental wage increases starting in 2021. The law specified that employers must pay $12 an hour starting January 1 and paves the way for $15 an hour in future years, but that’s dependent on future action by the General Assembly.

In order for minimum wage increases outlined in the law for 2025 and 2026 to become effective, the General Assembly must reenact the law before July 1, 2024. If lawmakers reenact the law, the minimum wage could increase to $13.50 an hour starting January 1, 2025, and to $15 an hour starting January 1, 2026.

If the legislature fails to reenact the wage increases by that date, the Commissioner of Labor and Industry is required to annually adjust the $12 minimum wage to account for inflation.

Republican lawmakers introduced legislation earlier this year that attempted to block the scheduled wage increase for 2023  and freeze the minimum wage at $11. The legislation, House Bill 320, passed the Republican-majority House of Delegates in February but was struck down in a Senate committee later that month.

No legislation has been filed attempting to block future minimum wage increases. But as lawmakers face a 2024 deadline to approve  future wage increases, it’s a topic that could emerge after the General Assembly reconvenes in January.

Delegate Jeion Ward (D-Hampton), a sponsor of the 2020 law establishing the minimum wage increases, told The Center Square the minimum wage increase will help Virginia families and hourly workers who are dealing with high prices and elevated inflation.

“It won’t solve all of their problems, but it is going to help,” Ward said. “Childcare, grocery costs – things like that are very expensive. They’re increasing every day. And this increase in the minimum wage won’t solve the problem, but it will certainly help them.”

Many small business owners say mandated minimum wage increases add to their costs, which they are forced to pass on to consumers. Businesses also have been dealing with 40-year-high inflation and supply chain slowdowns.

 – – –

Madison Hirneisen is a staff reporter covering Virginia and West Virginia for The Center Square. Madison previously covered California for The Center Square out of Los Angeles, but recently relocated to the DC area.
Photo “Starbucks Employees” by HAO XING. CC BY 2.0.



Related posts