On May 1, a group of 200 Democratic lawmakers introduced the “Raise the Wage Act,” a bill that would increase the federal minimum wage to $8 per hour on Jan. 1, 2016, and by $1 in every succeeding year. Under the bill, the federal minimum wage would reach $12 per hour in 2020. Sponsors of the bill include 32 Senators and 160 members of the House of Representatives. Supporters of the legislation indicated that the wages of 38 million workers would increase by more than $100 billion if the Act is passed.
As previously reported in the BT Currents blog, state and local minimum wage rate increases continue to gather momentum. During the same week that the “Raise the Wage Act” surfaced, state legislators in Pennsylvania proposed increasing the state minimum wage to $12 and health care workers proposed to raise the state minimum wage to $15 within five years by a ballot initiative in California.