The fight for minimum wage increases has been gaining steam, with a recent wave of protesters targeting employers such as Wal-Mart. This past week organizers in 15 cities throughout the United States demanded that Wal-Mart pay its employees at least $25,000 a year. Similar protests have been carried out across the country over the past few weeks with thousands of fast-food workers walking off the job and demanding increased wages.
Currently, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires all employers pay their workers at least federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25/hour. In 1938 when the FLSA was adopted, federal minimum wage was 25 cents. Although it has increased over the years, the base wage has not kept up with inflation. At $7.25/hour, a full-time minimum wage salary would by about $15,000 a year for a worker putting in 40 hours a week. President Obama has proposed raising the wage from $7.25 per hour to $9 per hour. Workers demanding a living wage are seeking a greater increase — generally around $12 per hour.
If you have questions about minimum wage or believe that you have not been paid all the wages you are entitled to, it’s important to consult with a top Georgia wage and hour attorney right away.
Even though companies such as Wal-Mart have argued against raising the minimum wage claiming that it would hurt their businesses and lead them to hire fewer workers, several studies have concluded the opposite. Increasing the minimum wage has significant benefits such as stimulating the economy by putting more money in the pockets of those most likely to spend it on necessities. In fact, some studies suggest that raising the minimum wage during an economic downturn could boost sales at companies like Wal-Mart that serve low-income shoppers. One advocate notes, “Wal-Mart caters to workers on a budget and they can expect that if those workers get an increase, they will spend the money in their stores.”
Further studies have shown that increasing the minimum wage does not lead to the short- or long-term loss of low-paying jobs – many previous minimum wage studies that found otherwise have since been discredited. Instead, raising the minimum wage has been shown to reduce employee turnover and increase efficiency, which can often offset the increased labor costs for companies.
Despite several states having minimum wage levels higher than the federal limits, it’s time to raise minimum wage for everyone.
If you have been denied minimum wage, contact the top Atlanta wage and hour attorneys Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP, dedicated to protecting employee’s rights in the workplace.