Labor leaders, workers and activists attend a rally for a $15 minimum hourly wage Wednesday in New York City. A panel appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo recommended the increase. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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Demonstrators rally before a meeting of a state wage board in New York. On Wednesday, a state panel recommended the minimum wage for fast-food employees be raised to $15 an hour, bypassing the state Legislature. Seth Wenig/AP hide caption

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Aetna announced one of its largest pay hikes recently. CEO Mark Bertolini says he believes it largely could pay for itself by making workers more productive. Courtesy of Aetna hide caption

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McDonald's announced this week that it will pay workers in its company-owned stores $1 more per hour than the local minimum wage. Wal-Mart, Target and the parent company of Marshalls and TJ Maxx have also promised to boost wages for their lowest-paid workers this year. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/Landov hide caption

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Diners fill Riverpark, a New York City restaurant, in January. Restaurateurs fear that the tipped-wage hike being proposed in New York will force them to get rid of tipping altogether. Brad Barket/Getty Images hide caption

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Fast-food workers in Los Angeles march in August 2013 to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Similar protests around the country have been organized by labor unions. Nick Ut/AP hide caption

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Protesters assemble in front of a McDonald's in Los Angeles, demanding a $15 an hour minimum wage in September. Paul Buck/EPA/Landov hide caption

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Srirupa Dasgupta opened Upohar, a restaurant and catering service, with a social mission. Her employees — primarily refugees — earn double the minimum wage. Jeff Brady/NPR hide caption

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signs an executive order raising the city's living wage law Tuesday. The move will require some employers to pay their employees between $11.50 and $13.13 an hour, depending on whether the employee receives benefits. Andrew Burton/Getty Images hide caption

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Wetzel's Pretzels employee Emperatriz Orozco hands out free samples at the Westfield Valley Fair Mall. Steve Henn/NPR hide caption

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