WASHINGTON — Virginia Democrats made good on one of their signature campaign promises, passing an increase to the commonwealth’s minimum wage that went into effect at the beginning of this month. Under Republican control, Virginia’s minimum wage had not budged since the current federal standard went into effect in 2009, despite increases in the cost of living over the last decade. An estimated 16,000 Virginians making the minimum wage will get a raise this month.
“We need to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top, and increasing the minimum wage is the first step in that process,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post. “It’s high time that we made sure that the minimum wage reflects a living wage, in Virginia and across the country. Democrats have made improving economic opportunities a top priority, and I’m so thrilled to see the results of that effort.”
Under the new legislation, the minimum wage in Virginia will continue to increase over the next few years, giving many workers a sorely-needed boost for the first time in over a decade. After 2026, increases would also be indexed to inflation, making sure that earnings reflect changes in the cost of living. Not one Republican in the General Assembly supported increasing the minimum wage.
Twenty-nine states and DC already had a higher minimum wage than the federal standard — Virginia’s new law makes that thirty. Gradually raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025 would lift pay for 32 million workers—21% of the U.S. workforce.