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Minimum Wage

Walmart Moms Stand for Respect

On Black Friday, Walmart workers across the country will be standing up for $15 an hour, full-time schedules, and respect at work -- workers like Sheena Kennedy.   

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October’s Employment Update Shows Importance of Raising the Minimum Wage and Tipped Minimum Wage

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 »

Minimum Wage Increases Were Clear Winners at the Polls

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.

Voters passed ballot measures in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota to increase their state minimum wages to $9.75 by 2016, $8.50 by 2017, $9 by 2016 and $8.50 in 2015 respectively. Alaska’s measure will adjust the minimum wage annually based on inflation or ensure it is $1 higher [PDF] than the federal minimum wage, whichever amount is greater. South Dakota’s measure also included an annual increase adjusted for the cost of living and increased the minimum cash wage for tipped workers [PDF] from the federal level of just $2.13/hour to half of the state minimum wage. Voters in Illinois affirmatively answered a non-binding question to tell their state legislators to increase the minimum wage to $10 by 2015. If the Illinois legislature acts to raise the wage in their state, yesterday’s election results mean that 680,000 workers will get a raise in those five states. Two-thirds of those workers are women and a quarter of them are raising children.

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Raising The Wage is “Simple Common Sense”

Shortly into the National Minimum Wage Day, we’re already getting good news of increased support to raise the minimum wage from some unexpected (but very welcome!) allies.

The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, has announced plans to name Kip Tindell as its chairman next month. Tindell is the CEO of the Container Store Group Inc., where he has prioritized an employee-focused business model by paying workers as much as double the typical retail wage and providing health care coverage even for part-time staff. Read more »

Building Momentum to #RaiseTheWage

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 »

Latinas Deserve Fair Pay. It’s (Past) Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

October 8, 2014 is Latina Equal Pay Day and Matt Damon’s 44th birthday. Unfortunately, only one of those is an occasion for anyone to celebrate.

Last year, Latinas typically were paid just 56 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. That’s why today, more than 10 months into 2014, we’re marking the day when Latinas have finally been paid the same amount that white, non-Hispanic men were typically paid in 2013 alone. You read that right: it takes more than 21 months for Latinas to make what white, non-Hispanic men made in 12. Read more »

8 Things You Could Buy a Lot of With an Extra $5,700

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 »

Paycheck Fairness, Part II — Raise the Minimum Wage!

Yesterday, a majority of the Senate voted to proceed to debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would strengthen current laws against wage discrimination and make it easier for women to ensure that their employers are paying them fairly. A vote on the merits of this bill is long overdue, and Senate passage would be a critically important step forward.

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 »

Five Reasons to Raise the Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers

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 »

An Eye-Opening Reminder of Where We Fall Short for Women and Families

On Tuesday, several of us at the National Women’s Law Center had the privilege of meeting with a group of 11 female political leaders from Latin America, hailing from Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Venezuela.

Staff from the Law Center spoke about our efforts to advance public policies that work for women and families, and women from the delegation asked poignant questions about how we advance that mission, and the successes and challenges we face in those efforts.

Part of what was so striking about the conversation was noticing what facts about the state of public policy for women in the U.S. most shocked our visitors. Explaining the recent Hobby Lobby decision caused jaws to drop when the group realized they had heard the English to Spanish translation correctly: the Court actually ruled in favor of an employer’s right to impose its religious beliefs on the health care decisions of its employees. More shocked faces accompanied learning that the U.S. federal minimum wage still sits at a puny $7.25 per hour—and it doesn’t even apply to all workers. And again, disbelieving inquiries followed hearing that an employer has no obligation to guarantee its workers a minimum number of hours, but can instead send workers home without pay if business is slow—even if an employee has traveled long distances or arranged child care to be at work. Read more »