HR Professionals Magazine March 2014


April Issue Highlights

In the Spotlight: Michele Burns, SPHR

Hot Topics

Executive Order to Increase 2014 Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors

President Obama announced in his State of the Union address that he will sign an Executive Order increasing the minimum wage for workers under new federal contracts to $10.10 an hour, from $7.25, hoping to encourage a minimum wage hike for all Americans. The increase applies to all contractors performing services for the federal government and would affect more than 2 million employees.


 The President is encouraging Congress to increase the overall federal wage to $10.10 over three years, then indexing it to inflation, while also raising the minimum wage for tipped workers.


 Since the creation of the minimum wage bill in 1938, the value of the minimum wage rose steadily until 1968 when its nominal value was $1.60 an hour. If the federal minimum wage had kept up with inflation over the past 40 years, the current minimum wage would be $10.74 per hour today!


 The debate about the minimum wage is a continuing issue that has picked up momentum due to the slowly recovering economy and growing public debate about income inequality. A Quinnipiac University poll in January reported 71% of Americans are in favor of raising the minimum wage. Five states passed minimum wage measures in 2013.  Many of these measures will push families above the federal poverty line, which is $15,730 for a family of two. An Iowa bill would hike the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 in that state.


Opponents of the minimum wage increase claim that raising the rate would have an adverse effect and discourage businesses from hiring more workers while the government is trying to increase job growth. An estimated 27.8 million people would earn more money under the Senate proposal to lift the hourly minimum from $7.25 to $10.10 by 2016. The average age of the minimum wage earner today is 35 and most work full time. Over 25% of minimum age workers are parents and approximately 50% of them earn half of their families’ total income.

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