All data is based on laws and policies in effect as of July 1, 2023.
The index is based on state policies in three dimensions: wages (40% of overall score); worker protections (35% of overall score); and rights to organize (25% of overall score).
View full spreadsheets of the data.
Do workers earn a wage that is sufficient to provide for them and their families? Among the data points in this dimension:
- The ratio of the state minimum wage in relation to the cost of living for a family of four with one wage earner. The goal wage is from the MIT Living Wage Calculator.
- The ratio of a tipped minimum wage to the state minimum wage.
- Whether or not the state allows localities to implement their own minimum wage laws.
- Whether or not states include farmworkers in their minimum wages.
- How well average unemployment payments for minimum wage workers cover cost of living for a family of four.
Worker protection policies
This dimension considers the quality of life for workers, especially women and parents. Among the data points in this dimension:
- Mandate that pumping breaks for breastfeeding workers be paid breaks.
- Mandates for equal pay, pay secrecy, and no salary history.
- Mandates for paid sick and family leave.
- Protections around flexible scheduling, reporting pay, split shift pay, advance notice.
- Protections against sexual harassment.
- Protections for federally excluded workers, including extending workers’ compensation to farmworkers and extending workers’ rights and protections to domestic workers.
- Heat safety standard for outdoor workers.
- Maintained child labor protections.
Right to organize policies
This dimension asks whether workers have the right to organize and sustain a trade union. Among the data points in this dimension:
- State so-called “right-to-work” law (which suppresses union activity).
- Public employees’ rights to collective bargaining and wage negotiation (teachers used as a case study).
- Mandates for project labor agreements with state government.
- Mandates for protection against retaliation.
- Statewide policies on collective bargaining for public workers.