Today, July 24th, marks three years since the last time the federal minimum wage increased. It currently stands at a measly $7.25 per hour, just $14,500 for people who work full time, year round. Rep. DeLauro (D-CT) and Rep. Braley (D-IA) and Senator Harkin (D-IA) have introduced legislation in the Rebuild America Act to raise the minimum wage to $9.80 over three years, providing full-time, year-round workers with a raise of $5,100 annually – nearly 35 percent. After that, the minimum wage would be indexed to inflation to maintain its value – a huge win for workers. This would be especially important to women workers who represent two-thirds of workers earning the federal minimum wage or less, including two-thirds of tipped workers who have a federal minimum cash wage of only $2.13.
So what would $5,100 mean each year for minimum wage workers?
For $5,100 you could get:
Four months of groceries;
Three months of rent;
And two tanks of gas.*
That is a lot. And it’s a whole lot for a mom with two kids whose current full-time, year-round minimum wage income still leaves her family more than $3,000 below the poverty line.
It’s past time to raise the minimum and tipped minimum wages. Workers and their families deserve better.
*See details on cost breakdowns here. Assumes a 19-gallon gas tank.