SHE’S THE LAW: How A Federal Minimum Wage Increase May Affect You

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<> on February 20, 2014 in San Francisco City.88 percent of minimum wage workers are at least 20 years old, and a third are age 40 or older, according to an article published by the Economic Policy Institute. Additionally, one-fifth of all U.S. children have a parent who is a minimum wage earner.

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Currently, the federal minimum wage is set at $7.25 hour, though individual states are free to set their own mandates regarding the lowest amount employers are allowed to pay employees. This rate of $7.25 / hour – in inflation-adjusted terms, is more than $2 below where it stood 40 years ago. Many of the populous states, such as New York, California, New Jersey, Illinois and Ohio, have increased minimum wage on their own. As President Obama has encouraged other states to follow this trend of increasing minimum wage on their own, it may, in fact, lessen any urgency for a call for Congress to act on the passing of an increased federal wage.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

As highlighted by the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of April 8, 2014, 38 states have considered minimum wage bills during the 2014 session, with 34 considering increases to their state minimum wage.

  • Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia and D.C. have enacted increases so far in 2014.
  • As of Jan. 1, 2014, 21 states and D.C. have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage.
  • 19 states, GU, PR and VI have minimum wages the same as the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
  • 4 states and AS have minimum wages below the federal minimum wage (the federal minimum thus applies).
  • 1 state, New Hampshire, repealed their state minimum wage in 2011, but left the reference to the federal minimum wage.
  • 5 states have not established a state minimum wage.

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOU?

Many state and federal legislators and business leaders have offered pros and cons in re all propositions for an increase in minimum wages. As noted in a U.S. News article, raising the minimum wage is also great for businesses and their leaders. “The CEO of Costco, who pays his full-time workers an average of $45,000 per year, says he gets lower turnover, more loyalty and better productivity by paying them liveable wages. Trader Joe’s, Starbucks, Stride Rite, Dansko, Eileen Fisher and many other major American companies pay better than minimum wage and are pressing Congress for an increase in the federal minimum wage. McDonalds and Wal-Mart have nothing to fear. A minimum wage increase will bring them more business. Why? Guess who eats at McDonalds and shops at Wal-Mart?”

It has also been argued that raising the minimum wage would be great for America’s consumer-driven economy, “because low-wage workers put every penny of their paychecks into consumer spending (while wealthier Americans hold back more for savings).”

Though President Obama has led, and continues to lead a charge for an increase to the federal minimum wage, it is apparent that many states have taken the charge for themselves. If you would like more information surrounding the stance your state has taken on seeking an increase of the minimum wage, CLICK HERE.

Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.

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