Thursday, July 23, 2009

Minimum wage climbs 70 cents tomorrow to $7.25 per hour

The federal minimum wage climbs 70 cents or 11 percent tomorrow to $7.25 per hour, completing a three-step hike that Congress adopted two years ago.

Last summer, the minimum climbed from $5.85 to its current level of $6.55. The amount was $5.25 before Congress acted, or 38 percent lower than tomorrow's figure.

At $7.25 per hour, an employee would earn $290 for a 40-hour work week and $15,080 for the year, assuming weekly pay checks of the full amount. That is slightly more than the $14,570 federal poverty threshold for a two-person household, but below the $18,310 threshold for a family of three.

Louisiana is one of the few states with no minimum wage law of its own, meaning its pay floor tracks the national rate. Several other states, however, have minimums lower than the new federal rate, meaning their state policy will become inconsequential.

Tomorrow's hike will affect about 4.5 million workers and increase hourly wages by $1.6 billion a year, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute

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