Milwaukee County employees and workers of companies awarded service and concession contracts with the county will be paid a minimum of $15 per hour beginning in 2021, under a "living wage" ordinance approved November 3, 2016 by the County Board. The ordinance matches a proposal by County Executive Chris Abele and sets the minimum wage at $12.35 per hour in 2017, up from $11.68 per hour this year. Annual wage increases established by the ordinance will increase to $13.01 in 2018, $13.67 in 2019, $14.34 in 2020, and $15 in 2021.
In subsequent years, an annual increase in the minimum wage will match the rate of inflation. By approving the $15 hourly wage, Milwaukee County is joining a "living wage movement" of more than 100 municipalities and states across the United States. This year, Dane County also raised its "living wage" ordinance to $15 per hour.
On November 8, 2016, voters Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington approved increases in their states’ respective hourly pay rates to at least $12 by 2020. Starting in 2021, the pay rate will be adjusted annually based on each state’s cost of living. These latest increases will provide pay increases for over 2.3 million workers. In recent years, over 20 states and dozens of cities and counties have approved minimum wage hikes via legislation or voter referendums, while Congress has kept the federal pay floor unchanged.