There are many reasons why we should increase the minimum wage. One key reason is that it would help to reduce poverty and income inequality. According to the National Employment Law Project, raising the minimum wage would lift millions of workers out of poverty. And research from the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows that increasing the minimum wage would also have a positive effect on income inequality.
Another reason to raise the minimum wage is that it would boost economic growth. A higher minimum wage means that workers have more money to spend, which can help to stimulate the economy. Also, when workers have more money, they are more likely to reinvest it in their communities, which can further boost economic growth.
Lastly, raising the minimum wage is simply the right thing to do. Workers who are paid a fair wage for their work are more likely to be productive and motivated, and they deserve to be compensated fairly for their labor. All workers should have the opportunity to earn a livable wage so that they can provide for themselves and their families.
When the federal government boosts the minimum wage, it usually seems to be good news for low-income employees and their families. In 1938, the United States Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act (Wages).
The first minimum wage was set at 25 cents an hour and applied to workers engaged in interstate commerce, the production of goods for interstate commerce, or the operation of certain businesses that affected interstate commerce (Wages). The term “minimum wage” first appeared in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. A full-time worker earning the federal minimum wage earns $15,080 a year, which is below the 2013 poverty line of $23,550 for a family of four.
Some people argue that increasing the minimum wage will lead to job loss because employers will not be able to afford to pay their workers as much. Others argue that raising the minimum wage can actually create jobs and stimulate the economy. A study by the Chicago Federal Reserve found that “for every dollar increase in the minimum wage, up to an additional $2,800 is spent by low-wage workers in their local communities” (Aaronson).
There are many reasons why we should increase the minimum wage. One reason is that it would help reduce poverty. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, “raising the minimum wage could bring 900,000 people out of poverty” (NBER). Low-wage workers are more likely to spend any additional earnings they receive, which would stimulate the economy and lead to job growth.
Another reason to increase the minimum wage is that it would help close the gender wage gap. Women make up almost two-thirds of minimum wage workers, and they are more likely than men to be the sole breadwinners for their families (NBER). Raising the minimum wage would help to close the gender wage gap and provide much-needed financial support for women and their families.
In addition, increasing the minimum wage would improve worker productivity and morale. A study by the Center for American Progress found that “workers who are paid higher wages are less likely to quit their jobs, miss work days, or be late” (Hall). These workers are also more productive on the job. Happy and productive workers lead to a more efficient workplace and can help increase profits for businesses.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements for full-time and part-time employees in the private sector as well as government agencies. Workers who are not exempt from the act are entitled to at least $5.15 an hour in wages.
The minimum wage applies to most covered, nonexempt workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. The FLSA does not provide wage rates for all workers; some are exempt from both its minimum wage and overtime pay provisions.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes a minimum wage for all covered, nonexempt employees of $5.15 per hour effective September 1, 1997. The Act also provides that the Secretary of Labor may issue regulations to adjust the minimum wage every three years to reflect changes in the cost-of-living (as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W)).
On July 24, 2007, President George W. Bush signed into law the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, which increased the federal minimum wage in three steps: to $5.85 per hour 60 days after enactment (September 1, 2007), to $6.55 per hour 12 months after that (August 1, 2008), and to $7.25 per hour 24 months after that (July 24, 2009).
The FLSA does not provide wage rates for all workers. Some workers are exempt from both its minimum wage and overtime pay provisions. Exemptions are generally based on an employee’s duties, salary level, or salary basis of pay.
It is important to remember that even if an employee is paid hourly, he or she may still be exempt from the overtime provisions, depending on his or her job duties. Exempt employees must be paid on a salary basis; that is, they must receive a predetermined amount of pay each pay period, regardless of the quality or quantity of work performed.
In order for an employee to be considered exempt, he or she must meet certain criteria regarding job duties and be paid at least $455 per week (or $27.63 per hour). Employees who do not meet all of the criteria for exemption are entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay protections.
The FLSA does not require employers to provide meal or rest periods. However, if an employer chooses to do so, any such period must last at least 30 minutes and occur during the employee’s regularly scheduled hours. The employer is not required to pay the employee for meal or rest periods.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
Some states have their own minimum wage laws. In cases where an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher of the two minimum wages.
The FLSA does not require employers to provide fringe benefits, such as health insurance or vacation pay, to workers. However, if an employer chooses to do so, the law requires that any such fringe benefits must be included in computing an employee’s regular rate of pay for purposes of calculating overtime compensation.
Employers are required to keep records of wages, hours, and other conditions of employment for each covered, nonexempt worker. These records must be kept for at least three years and must be available for inspection by the Department of Labor.
The FLSA prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the Act. For example, it is unlawful to discharge or in any other manner discriminate against an employee because he or she has filed a complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to the Fair Labor Standards Act, or because he or she has testified or is about to testify in an investigation or proceeding concerning the Act.
The FLSA also prohibits employers from discharging or in any other manner discriminating against any employee because the employee has inquired about, discussed, or disclosed his or her own wages or the wages of another employee. This provision applies to all employees, regardless of whether they are covered by the Act.
Finally, the Act’s anti-retaliation provisions protect employees who cooperate in investigations or proceedings concerning their employer’s compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. For example, it is unlawful for an employer to discharge or discriminate against an employee because that employee has given information to his or her employer, orally or in writing, about a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.