Minimum Wage Is Increasing!
HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer
The struggle regarding the federal minimum wage continues in 2014. The United States has a proud(?) history of grappling with labor’s lowest fair compensation for more than 70 years. Since the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 imposed the first nationally required minimum wage of 25 cents/hour, numerous amendments to the Act have periodically raised the federal minimum wage until it reached the $7.25/hour figure kept since 2010. Most states have their own statutory minimum wages, and the higher amount applies where state and federal minimums differ. Current state and federal minimum wage amounts are furnished by the U. S Labor Department here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm
In November 2013, the Minimum Wage Fairness Act (S. 1737; 113th Congress 2013-2014) was introduced and is being considered by the U. S. Congress. The Bill would once again amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10/ hour over a 2-year period.
As you might surmise, people are weighing in on both sides of the debate about whether and to what extent the minimum wage should be raised. Opponents of a higher minimum wage include Andy Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc., which owns Hardees and Carl’s Jr. Puzder argues that raising the minimum wage will result in higher prices, higher unemployment among American youth because older workers will take those higher paying jobs and more automation eliminating human workers. Proponents of the raise include Nick Hanauer, a venture capitalist who made mucho dinero by early investment in Amazon.com, and then cofounded Second Avenue Partners, a Seattle-based venture capital company. Hanauer supports a $15.00/hour minimum wage because “If workers have more money, businesses have more customers” and because the ever-widening income gap may result in violent revolution by the have-nots. Hanauer’s local influence is undoubted, as Seattle passed the country’s highest minimum wage – a gradual raise to $15.00/hour – in June 2014. Seattle’s new minimum wage is already being challenged by a federal lawsuit claiming it unfairly burdens small franchises.
As opposing forces argue about the wisdom of a minimum wage increase, the proposed Minimum Wage Fairness Act is still in early stages: the Bill has not passed the Senate or the House; in early April 2014 there was a motion to proceed to the Senate’s consideration of the Bill. Meanwhile, minimum wage laws imposing at least the federally mandated $7.25/hour figure (or higher, if required by state law) remain in force. Those believing they are entitled to but not receiving minimum wage can call the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division at 1-866-487-9243 or visit their web site here: http://www.dol.gov/wecanhelp/howtofilecomplaint.htm
DO’S AND DON’TS
DO find your state’s minimum wage here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm
DON’T rely on your state’s law if it has no minimum wage or if its minimum wage is lower than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
DO understand that the higher amount applies where state and federal minimums differ.
DO contact the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division at 1-866-487-9243 or visit their web site here: http://www.dol.gov/wecanhelp/howtofilecomplaint.htm
By Kathy Catanzarite
Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.
EMPLOYEE BENEFITS/LABOR LAW DOS AND DON'TS