The minimum wage went up in 20 states on January 1st. South Dakota had the largest boost of $1.25 per hour thanks to South Dakota voters, who overwhelmingly approved the wage increase on the state’s ballot in November. Arkansas and Nebraska also saw their minimum wages increase on the 1st as a result of successful ballot initiatives, while workers in Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia got raises due to legislative action. Minimum wages in the other nine states—Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington—increased automatically because they are indexed to inflation, a policy that ensures the minimum wage keeps pace with the rising cost of living. Workers in Alaska, D.C., Delaware and Minnesota are set to get raises later in 2015. Read more »
This month’s BLS data release shows continued strong job growth, with the economy adding 214,000 jobs. Women’s jobs made up 59 percent of these gains (127,000 jobs), but our analysis shows that 49 percent of new jobs overall were added in the low-wage sectors of retail, leisure & hospitality, temporary help services, home health care services, and nursing & residential care facilities. One-third of women’s total net jobs were added in the retail and leisure & hospitality sectors alone. Read more »
Election Day post-mortems generally involve a lot of speculation – pundits will spend days arguing over which issues persuaded voters to choose one candidate over another. But voters issued at least one clear mandate: they overwhelmingly support raising the minimum wage.
An article in Forbes yesterday pointed out that employers paying their employees the minimum wage are sending them a loud statement that “It’s not legally possible for me to value your work any less than I already do.” The article argues that’s a poor business practice, ensuring low morale and high turn-over. But it also raises a broader issue: what kind of message is Congress sending those employees?
A woman working full time, year round at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour earns just $14,500—more than $4,000 below the poverty line for a family of three. Congress has allowed these employees’ wages to decrease every year since the current level went into effect in 2009 by neglecting to tie the minimum wage to inflation, and it has yet to heed the President’s call to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Fortunately, states and cities across the country aren’t waiting for Congress to act. Read more »
For millions of workers, raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour could boost annual full-time earnings by $5,700. That’s enough to pull a family of three out of poverty—but for additional help visualizing what $5,700 looks like, here are 8 things you could splurge on with an extra $5,700 a year. Read more »
But the Paycheck Fairness Act is not the only bill that could help close the gap between women’s and men’s earnings — which hasn’t budged in a decade, as women working full time, year round are still typically paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. One reason for this persistent wage gap is that women are overrepresented in low-wage jobs: for starters, they make up two-thirds of minimum wage workers. Another bill, the Fair Minimum Wage Act, would boost pay for these workers by gradually raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour, increasing the tipped minimum cash wage from $2.13 per hour to 70 percent of the minimum wage, and indexing these wages to keep up with inflation. Read more »
Did you know that in most states, when you tip your waitress, you’re actually paying her wages?
That’s because the federal minimum wage law allows employers of tipped workers to pay them as little as $2.13 per hour (the “tipped minimum cash wage”), and count your tips to fulfill their obligation to pay their workers the minimum wage. While employers are legally required to make up the difference between $2.13 and the regular minimum wage if tips fall short, studies show [PDF] that all too often employers don’t do this. This is particularly a problem for women, who are two-thirds of tipped workers. Read more »