July 22, 2014
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the 2009 federal minimum wage increase to $7.25, and the network of labor unions and advocacy groups who are promoting another one aren’t wasting the occasion. But in their campaign to promote the … Continue reading
July 1, 2014
On July 1st, California’s minimum wage rose to $9 an hour, the first stage of a two-part increase to $10. Elsewhere, localities in the state have their sights set even higher, topping out with a $15 ballot proposal in San … Continue reading
June 24, 2014
Earlier this month, Seattle became the first major city in the United States to approve a $15 minimum wage. With the ink from Mayor Ed Murray’s signature barely dry on the new ordinance, activists and legislators in other major cities—including … Continue reading
About the Minimum Wage
The minimum wage is the minimum hourly wage an employer can pay an employee for work. Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour (part of the Fair Labor Standards Act) and some states and cities have raised their minimum wage even higher than that. San Francisco, CA, has the highest minimum wage in the country at $10.55 an hour.
Employees that earn the minimum wage tend to be young, and work in businesses that keep a few cents of each sales dollar after expenses. When the minimum wage goes up, these employers are forced to either pass costs on to consumers in the form of higher prices, or cut costs elsewhere–leading to less full-service and more customer self-service. As a result, fewer hours and jobs are available for less-skilled and less-experienced employees.
Minimum wage increases do not help reduce poverty. Award winning research looked at states that raised their minimum wage between 2003 and 2007 and found no evidence to suggest these higher minimum wages reduced poverty rates. While the few employees who earn a wage increase might benefit from a wage hike, those that lose their job are noticeably worse off.
Employees who start at the minimum wage aren’t stuck there. Research found that the majority of employees who start at the minimum wage, move to a higher wage in their first year on the job.