Best and Worst States to Work in America 2019
Increasingly, workers are not sharing in the bounty of our thriving economy — and the federal government is not willing to make changes that matter. Some states are taking steps to keep working families out of poverty, and to give them a decent chance. How does your state rank?
ranks # overall; # for wage policies, # for worker protection policies, and # for rights to organize. In , the minimum wage is .
How does score in the policy areas?
Wage policies ranking: #
The minimum wage is X.XX
This is XX percent of the living wage for a family of four ().
- Localities in have the capacity to raise the local minimum wage if they choose.
Worker Protection policies ranking: #
- Does provide accommodations for pregnant workers.
- Does offer protections for workplace breastfeeding.
- Does mandate equal pay across gender and race.
- Does prohibit pay secrecy practices in the workplace.
- Does restrict access to salary history to reduce gender and racial bias.
- Does mandate job protected leave for non-FMLA workers.
- Does mandate job protected leave longer than is required by FMLA.
- Does provide some form of paid family leave.
- Does provide some form of paid sick leave.
- Does provide flexible scheduling of worker shifts.
- Does mandate pay reporting or ‘call-in’ pay by employers.
- Does provide split shift pay regulation.
- Does provide workers advanced notice of shift scheduling.
- Does provide some form of sexual harassment protection in state law.
Right to organize policies ranking: #*
- Does have a so-called “Right-to-Work” law (which suppresses unions).
- Does provide both collective bargaining and wage negotiations to teachers.
- Does provide both collective bargaining and wage negotiations to police officers.
- Does provide both collective bargaining and wage negotiations to firefighters.
- Does fully legalize project labor agreements to ensure a fair wage to workers on contract.
* 21 states tie for #1.
How does compare to other states in the region?
is ranked first in the nation. It leads the nation with laws aimed to improve compensation and conditions in the workplace.
is ranked last in the nation in compensation, worker protections, and rights to organize.
is ranked first in the region. It leads the region with laws aimed to improve compensation and conditions in the workplace.
is ranked last in the region. It falls behind the region in compensation and conditions in the workplace.
and rank closely in the labor index.
leads the region through worker protections and livable wages. It has a minimum wage of per hour, percent of what it takes a family of four to live in the state. In , the minimum wage is , percent of the livable wage for a working family.
Best States to Work Index by US Bureau of Economic Analysis region
Average index score by Bureau of Economic Analysis region
All data is based on laws and policies in effect as of July 1, 2019.
The index is based on state policies in three dimensions; each accounts for a third of the final overall score.
Do workers earn a living wage that is sufficient to provide for them and their families? This dimension includes two areas:
- The ratio of the actual state minimum wage in relation to the “living wage” for a family of four with one wage earner. The living wage figure is from the MIT Living Wage Calculator 1.
- Whether or not the state allows localities to implement their own minimum wage laws 2.
Worker protection policies
This dimension considers the quality of life for workers, especially women and parents. The policies include:
- Protections for women who are pregnant and breastfeeding.
- Mandates for equal pay, pay secrecy, and no salary history.
- Leave for non-FMLA workers because of less time on the job; leave longer than federal FMLA.
- Mandate for paid sick leave.
- Protections around flexible scheduling, reporting pay, split shift pay, advance notice.
- Protections around sexual harassment.
Right to organize policies
Do workers have the right to organize and sustain a trade union?
- Does the state have a so-called “Right to Work” law (which suppresses union activity)?
- Do public employees (teachers, police, firefighters) have rights to collective bargaining and wage negotiation?
- Are project labor agreements for government contracts available?
- MIT Living Wage Calculator.
- Local control over the minimum wage is based on Input provided by the National Employment Law Project.