On February 25, 2016, Governor Robert Bentley signed House Bill 174 which nixed the local minimum-wage ordinance passed by the Birmingham city council on August 18, 2015. The bill then became Alabama Act 2016-18, which is entitled the Alabama Uniform Minimum Wage and Right-to-Work Act.
Because Alabama does not have a state minimum-wage requirement, the minimum wage in Alabama is the minimum wage set by the federal government, currently at $7.25 an hour. The Birmingham ordinance was set to increase the minimum wage to $8.50 in July 2016 and to $10.10 in July 2017. On February 9, the Birmingham City Council voted to implement the increase on March 1, 2016. But the new Alabama law stopped that attempt in its tracks.
In addition to prohibiting counties, municipalities, or other political subdivisions from setting a minimum wage, the act also prohibits them from requiring an employer to provide paid or unpaid leave, vacation time, or a work schedule that is not required by federal law.
Two states have set their minimum wage rates at $10 an hour: California and Massachusetts. This rate is the highest state rate, but the District of Columbia has set its rate at $10.50 an hour. All told, 28 states have set rates higher than the federal rate. Two states have a minimum wage less than the federal rate: Georgia and Wyoming. (In those states, employers must pay the federal rate.) Only these five states have no state minimum wage law: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
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