President Obama’s State of the Union Address included a call for an increase in the Federal minimum wage – placing a renewed emphasis on the critical issue of making ends meet for many working Americans.
Obama has asked Congress to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour from $7.25/ hour, a move that could potentially affect millions of working Americans. Minimum wage earners – such as cooks, janitors, and aides to the elderly – often struggle to make ends meet. Such an increase could help reduce the widening gap of income inequality.
Obama hopes to have the hourly wages reach $9 by the end of 2015, with an automatic adjustment for inflation.
Currently, the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”) mandates that workers be paid minimum wage, and several states have higher minimum wage levels. If you have questions about the minimum wage or any other wage or hour question, please consult with an experienced Atlanta minimum wage law attorney right away.
If successful, the raise in minimum wage would boost the wages of about 15 million low-income workers. Although the $9 minimum wage would be the highest in more than 30 years, taking into account inflation, it is still lower than the levels it reached back in the 1960s and 1970s.
In the State of the Union Address, Obama noted:
“Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong…Let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth, no one who works full time should have to live in poverty.”
Citing research that shows “no detectable employment losses from the kind of minimum wage increases we have seen in the United States,” the White House said that the move would have profoundly positive effects for low-income families without unduly burdening businesses or raising the unemployment rate.
Further, several companies like Costco and Stride Rite favor minimum wage increases as a way to reduce employee turnover and improve workers’ productivity.
“This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families,” said Mr. Obama on Tuesday night. “It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank, rent or eviction, scraping by or finally getting ahead. For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets. In fact, working folks shouldn’t have to wait year after year for the minimum wage to go up while C.E.O. pay has never been higher.”
For more information about the minimum wage, the Fair labor Standards Act or any other wage and hour questions, please contact the dedicated Georgia wage and hour lawyers Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate appointment.