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Minimum wage reform gains more political support

Advocates seeking to raise the federal minimum wage have gained the support of small business groups and the White House. A recent proposal by the Obama Administration asked to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour with a tie to the rising cost of living. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour which is generally accepted as too low a wage to live on in any state in the U.S.

A national poll of small business owners found widespread support in that group, with 57 percent responding favorably to the proposal. The poll surveyed owners of businesses with less than 100 employees. Respondents identified themselves as having a variety of different political affiliations, including a significant portion of independents. A number of states have taken action to raise the minimum wage on their own. The general concept is that paying workers a better living wage will help them to have greater spending power which will help boost the economy.

At this point even many business owners in the restaurant and retail sectors have begun to support the minimum wage, even though those groups have generally opposed it in the past.

Whatever the result on the minimum wage issue, it is clear that workers and businesses are coming to a consensus about what fair pay and fair treatment at work means. Minimum wage is only one part of the puzzle of fair pay, which also include fairly paid overtime, timely payment by an employer, and no pay disparities among employees based on race, religion, gender, age, disability status, or other illegal factors.

Source: CNN, “Minimum wage campaign gains White House, small biz support,” Elizabeth G. Olson, March 10, 2014.  

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