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5 Historical Facts About Minimum Wage

By    |   Tuesday, 02 Jun 2015 01:12 PM

With President Obama seeking to raise the federal minimum wage level from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour – a rate closer to the living wage standard – in his campaign to fight against “income inequality,” the firestorm of political debates brings to mind the debates surrounding the first demand for a federal minimum wage during the Great Depression.

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Here are five historical facts about the federal minimum wage throughout the years:

1. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the federal minimum wage into law on June 25, 1938 under the brand-new Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), according to the United States Department of Labor.

Roosevelt declared that the bill was meant to give “all our able-bodied working men and women a fair day's pay for a fair day's work." The FLSA came into effect on October 24, 1938.

2. The original federal minimum wage was set at $0.25 per hour (equivalent to $4.18 in 2014 dollars)
with a maximum work week of 44 hours. According to Forbes, the minimum wage initially affected approximately 20 percent of the workforce.

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3. The federal minimum wage was at its highest in 1968 at the equivalent of $8.54 per hour in 2014 dollars (and after adjustment for inflation), according to the Pew Research Center.

4. Twenty-nine states, as well as the District of Columbia, have instituted their own minimum wages above the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.
Washington state, at $9.47 per hour, is the highest, and seven states are at $9.00 and above, including California, Connecticut, Oregon, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, according to the Pew Research Center.

5. The last federal wage increase occurred in 2007
when Congress raised the $5.15 per hour rate to the current rate of $7.25 per hour to go into effect in 2009, according to the Heritage Foundation.

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With President Obama seeking to raise the federal minimum wage level from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour - a rate closer to the living wage standard - in his campaign to fight against "income inequality," the firestorm of political debates brings to mind the debates...
minimum wage, facts
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2015-12-02
Tuesday, 02 Jun 2015 01:12 PM
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