H.R.582 / S.150 - Raise the Wage Act

Photo of Congress member Senator Bernie Sanders

A bill to provide for increases in the federal minimum wage, and for other purposes.

You might favor this bill if:
►  You believe that no one who works a full time job should live in poverty. The minimum wage should be gradually raised from $8.55 an hour today to $15 an hour in five years in order to expand new economic opportunity and build an economy that works for all families. Sub-minimum wages, such as those for tipped workers, youth workers, or those with disabilities, should be phased out.

You might oppose this bill if:
►  You believe that the minimum wage is at the right level and should stay the same. The sub-minimum wages for tipped workers, youth workers, and those with disabilities should also remain the same and not be phased out.
Introduced House Senate President Law

The Raise the Wage Act would gradually raise the minimum wage, which has been fixed and unchanged since 1991, to $15 by 2024, index future minimum wage increases to median wage growth and ensure all workers are paid at least the full federal minimum wage by phasing out the sub-minimum wages for tipped workers, youth workers and workers with disabilities.

The program is set to start from:
• $8.55 an hour, starting on the effective date;
• $9.85 an hour, beginning one year after;
• $11.15 an hour, beginning two years after;
• $12.45 an hour, beginning three years after;
• $13.75 an hour beginning four years after; and finally
• $15.00 an hour, beginning five years after.

After 6 years the amount of increase will be determined by the Secretary of Labor. 90 days before a new minimum wage is determined, the Secretary has to determine the minimum wage to be paid in effect.

In calculating the annual percentage increase in the median hourly wage of all employees, the secretary, through the Bureau of Labour statistics, would compile data on the hourly wages of all employees to determine such a median hourly wage and compare them with the most recent year for which the data are available with the median hourly wage determined for the preceding year.

The main purpose of this legislation is to make sure that no one working a full-time job should live in poverty.

“Just a few short years ago, we were told that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour was ‘radical.’ But a grassroots movement of millions of workers throughout this country refused to take ‘no’ for an answer. It is not a radical idea to say a job should lift you out of poverty, not keep you in it. The current $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage. It must be increased to a living wage of $15 an hour,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

The increase in wages are meant to help over 41 million workers; the majority of them being adults over 20 years.

The act would also abandon the outdated tipped wage. According to the bill, the cash paid to such an employee would not be less than $3.60 an hour after a 1 year period beginning on the effective date. In subsequent years, the wage paid would be increased by $1.50.

The sub-minimum for tipped workers since 1991 has been fixed at $2.13 per hour. While these tips were expected to supplement this sub-minimum wage, these often tend to be unstable and makes employees susceptible to wage theft.

Workers who are tipped are more likely to live below the poverty threshold than the general workforce, most times relying on federal assistance for basic needs. Upon enactment of the bill, it plans to phase out the outdated tipped wage.

The Raise the Wage Act would help benefit young workers by phasing out the youth minimum wage. Newly hired employees who are less than 20 years old should be paid a wage rate of $5.50 an hour for the first year period beginning on the effective date. The youth minimum wage allows employers to pay workers under 20 years a lower wage than an average minimum wage worker older than 20.

A lot of workers have gone years without any form of raise, and this is mostly applicable to minimum wage workers. Labour productivity has doubled while the pay for low wage workers essentially has either remained stagnant or fallen.

Raising the federal minimum is an essential step towards reversing these damaging trends.


Sponsored by: Scott, Robert C. "Bobby" [D-VA-3]..

Cosponsored by: 0 Rep / 205 Dem.

See list of cosponsors.

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