I bet you don't think about the minimum wage very much, unless you're one of the folks trying to live on it. There's a move afoot to raise the minimum wage, and you should support it. It's in everyone's best interest to make sure working Americans make a living wage.
Senator Tom Harkin has proposed the Rebuild America Act, which would, among other provisions, raise the minimum wage. It's about time we revisit the minimum wage. Here are some important facts you should know about the minimum wage:
Way below inflation: If the minimum wage had been raised to keep pace with inflation since it was $1.60/hour in 1966, it would now be $10.55.
Annual income: If you work full time on minimum wage, your annual income is $15,080. Go ahead. Try living on that for a year. Morgan Spurlock tried it for 30 days in his old TV show. If you never saw it, you missed an eye-opener.
Tipped employees: Tipped employees have a minimum wage of $2.13/hour. Tip well!
Affording an apartment: In no state in the U.S., even those with higher minimum wages, can a minimum wage worker afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market value working only 40 hours/week.
Disproportionately women: 64% of minimum wage workers are women. Compare that to the percentage of women who are CEOs, at 4%. Something is wrong here.
Good for the economy: Minimum wage workers tend to spend their pay increases, mainly because they have to. Increases in the minimum wage are good for the economy.
Majority big corporations: Most minimum wage workers are working for big corporations, who have reported record profit increases. The old canard that it would put mom and pop shops out of business is malarkey.
More college educated: More college-educated folks make minimum wage than those who never graduated high school. If you think minimum wage workers brought their troubles on themselves by dropping out, you are wrong.
Now that you have the facts, I hope you'll tell your Congressional representatives and Senators that you support raising the minimum wage to something Americans can actually live on.
Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly.