When will the Minimum Wage be raised?
Will there be a Federal Minimum Wage Raise in 2017?
The Federal Minimum Wage was last raised to $7.25 per hour in 2009 from the previous minimum wage rate of $6.55. The Minimum Wage is raised by an act of Congress, and has no set schedule, but is generally raised every 3-7 years in response to rising inflation and cost-of-living.
It's possible that the federal minimum will not be raised again for several years for several reasons. Firstly, it's common for the minimum wage to remain the same for as long as 7-8 years before it is raised again. The Minimum Wage has only been $7.25 since 2009. Second, raising the Minimum Wage is a controversial subject for politicians because it hurts businesses.
Why is raising the federal minimum wage controvertial?
Businesses want to be able to hire cheap labor as inexpensively as possible, and raising the minimum wage pinches their bottom line as they are forced to pay their low-tier employees more. Because of this, businesses and fiscal conservatives are often strongly opposed to raising the minimum wage. The additional costs to businesses deters Congress from raising the minimum wage in times of economic distress, despite bad economic conditions making survival even harder for minimum wage employees.
Because of the additional labor cost to businesses, raising the minimum wage can in fact lead to companies simply terminating many of their minimum wage workers to avoid giving them a raise, and many companies may hire fewer teens or unskilled laborers. Department of Labor statistics indicate that a 10% raise in the Minimum Wage leads to 4.6% to 9.0% fewer workers from low-income demographics getting jobs.
Democratic politicians tend to call for a higher minimum wage
As the cost of living rises, however, many politicians have pushed strongly for minimum wage raise. President Obama, a supporter of raising the federal minimum wage, called for an increase to $9.50 per hour by the end of 2011. More recently, in his Febrary 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama called for raising the federal minimum wage to $9.00 per hour, and promised to make it a priority during his second term.
Mirroring her predecessor Obama's policy, Hillary Clinton called for a $15.00 minimum wage hike during her 2016 Presidential campaign. Whether this initiative will succeed in the current political climate remains to be seen.
Do you believe that the Minimum Wage should be raised? Want to help change labor law? Contact your senator and let them know what you think at www.senate.gov. You can also share your thoughts on our Facebook page.
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