A report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimates that raising the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020 would increase the wages of 35.1 million workers. The “Raise the Wage Act of 2015” (S. 1511) was introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) in April 2015. A companion bill (H.R. 2150) was introduced by Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA). The bills would raise the federal minimum wage incrementally to $12 per hour by 2020.
The study estimates that 57.4% of workers who would benefit work full-time, 30.0% work between 20 and 34 hours per week, and 12.6% work less than 20 hours per week. The average age of affected workers is 36. Just 10.7% of workers who would benefit from the minimum wage increase are teenagers; 22.7% are between the ages of 20 and 24; 29.9% are between the ages of 25 and 39; 21.4% are between the ages of 40 to 54; and 15.3% are age 55 and older.
Other characteristics of those benefitting from raising the minimum wage to $12 per hour include:
- 50% of workers who would benefit have annual family income of less than $40,000.
- 55.9% of workers who would benefit are women.
- 37.8% of Hispanic, 34.7% of black, and 21% of white workers would benefit.
- 39.6% of single working mothers would benefit.
- 28.0% of single working fathers would benefit.
The minimum wage has been raised through legislation only nine times since its inception in 1938, and it has not been indexed to inflation or median wage increases. Raising the minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020 is intended to restore the purchasing power it has lost since it was last raised in 2009. The real value of the $7.25 minimum wage in 2014 was 10% less than its value in 2009 and 24% less than its peak real value in 1968.
After increasing the federal minimum wage to $12 by 2020, S. 1511 and H.R. 2150 would index the minimum wage to the median wage so that it would increase automatically in subsequent years.
Raising the Minimum Wage to $12 by 2020 Would Lift Wages for 35 Million American Workers is available at http://bit.ly/1LOBlTj.
The “Raise the Wage Act” is available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1150