Discussions About Minimum Wage Reach National Stage

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Many of us are aware of the recent discussions about an increase in local minimum wage, including a minimum wage of $15/hr in SeaTac for hospitality and transportation worker, or a $15 minimum wage for Seattle city workers. However, recent news made it clear that the conversation about “livable wages” is also taking place outside of the Puget Sound area. In his State of the Union address, President Obama announced an executive order raising the minimum wage to $10.10 for future federal contract workers. Currently federal contract workers are paid a minimum of $7.25/hour, the rate for private-sector employers. “The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by, let alone to get ahead…. And too many still aren’t working at all. So our job is to reverse these trends.” 

While the recent dialogue surrounding higher wages concerns many employers tasked with managing employee compensation in an ever-changing economy, I would caution readers from disregarding this as simply a partisan, short term issue that will be fixed in upcoming elections. A recent Gallup poll shows that two out of three Americans are dissatisfied with the way income and wealth are currently distributed in the U.S, including three-fourths of Democrats and 54% of Republicans.

I think it is safe to say that this topic will continue to come up in cities across the nation, and we will monitor this issue and update you along the way.

 


About the Authors

Lauren Parris Watts

Lauren Parris Watts’ practice focuses on representing and advising individual clients and small to medium-sized business clients in risk management, contractual matters, employment and general tort litigation. She counsels clients on a variety of issues, including compensation and severance agreements, non-competition and non-solicitation restrictions, disability accommodations, FMLA and other leave rights and misconduct investigations. She also represents her clients in lawsuits alleging wrongful termination, sexual harassment, retaliation and discrimination.

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