Measure introduced in Senate to raise minimum wage over the next two years
Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012 last week. A companion bill to one introduced in the House, the measure (S. 3453) would increase the minimum wage to $9.80 per hour in three steps over the next two years. It would also increase the minimum wage for tipped workers from the current $2.13 per hour to a level that is 70 percent of the full minimum wage, or approximately $6.85 per hour.
According to a statement from Harkin’s office, the bill is based on the Rebuild America Act introduced by Harkin in March 2012. That bill also would close loopholes that potentially allow employers to misclassify workers as independent contractors and would provide funding for state and local governments to hire teachers and first responders. It also would provide $300 billion in infrastructure funding to build and repair bridges and highways, reinstate the Child Care and Development Block Grant that assists working families with child care costs, and improve Social Security benefits.
In addition, the legislation would update the overtime requirements for white-collar workers, expand the Work Opportunity Tax Credit allowing employers to hire more workers with disabilities, and allow American workers to earn up to seven paid sick days each year.
Source: WKL&B Editorial Staff.