According to Reuters Legal. today people in 160 cities throughout the nation are taking to the street to protest for a higher minimum wage. While each state has the right to set a minimum wage for state residents it cannot go below the Federal minimum wage guarantee set by the Federal Labor Standard Act. Currently the Federal minimum wage is still at $7.25 where it has rested since the last increase in 2009. In 2014 as many as 23 states had minimum wages higher than the federal requirement ranging from $7.50 to $9.34. More may join the group in 2015 when the minimum requirement will go up in nine states because of indexed increases based on state law:
Labor Unions have been calling for a Federal raise that would almost double the current bottom wage payments to $15.00 per hour. Currently the highest minimum wage requirement is in Washington where the lowest paid workers earn $9.37 per hour. This amount will increase because of an automatic index to $9.47 per hour. This is still well below the union goal of $15.00 per hour or $17,500 per year for full time workers.
Proponents of an increase say that workers need to be paid a fair wage that would provide a living for an adult with a family. They claim that increasing the minimum wage would allow full time workers with a family of four to leave the welfare roles and become independent wage earners. They believe raising wages would save taxpayers millions in benefits helping to balance the out of control Federal budget.
Opponents say the strain of a double-digit increase would constrain the slowly recovering economy and cause great harm to small business. They site concerns that even a small increase in the minimum pay requirement would push more companies to slow hiring of full time labor. They claim that lost jobs and reduced hours would more than offset any reduction that the proposed increase would have in the Welfare roles.
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