Congress Seeks To Raise Minimum Wage

Raising the minimum wage has taken center stage in Congress and may prove to be a crucial issue this election season. Last week Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) along with more than 100 House Democrats proposed new minimum wage legislation. The legislation would increase the minimum wage from its current $7.25 to $9.80 over the next three years.

The last federal minimum wage increase was in 2007 and has not kept pace with the demands of workers. Nearly 47 million Americans receive just minimum wage and qualify as the “working poor.” Miller states, “Raising the minimum wage helps families make ends meet.”

Unfortunately, even with the minimum wage set at $7.25 often employers fail to pay workers all of the wages they are entitled to – either intentionally or by mistake. If you believe you have not been paid all the compensation you are entitled to, it’s important to speak to an experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyer right away. Federal labor law, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), requires that employers pay all workers at least minimum wage. If you believe that you have been denied overtime or that your employer has committed some other violation of the wage and hour laws, you don’t have to file an EEOC claim as you would in a typical discrimination case. Instead, you can hire a private attorney and file suit as soon as you discover the violation. If other people at your company have also been denied overtime, you may be able to file a special type of FLSA class action, known as a collective action, which will help you bring the maximum pressure to bear on your employer to change its ways and to pay you all the compensation you are owed.

The current legislation, H.R. 6211, seeks to increase the minimum wage by 85 cents a year for the next 3 years, with the final wage of $9.80 to be adjusted upwards with inflation. Additionally the wages tipped employees receive –just $2.13/hour will be increased by 85 cents a year until it reaches 70% of the non-tipped minimum wage.

Senator Tom Harkin proposed a companion bill in the senate stating “People who work hard for a living should not have to live in poverty,” Harkin said. “I am proud to introduce this bill today, to raise the minimum wage, and to help tens of millions of workers and their families.”

Despite significant support for these bills, some detractors exist.

As dedicated Georgia wage and hour lawyers, we support this legislation and all efforts to ensure workers receive the compensation they deserve. For more information or if you believe you have not been paid all of your wages, please contact an experienced minimum wage lawyer at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP right away to see how we can help you.