After more than a decade with no increase in the federal minimum wage – and more than the thirty years with no increase to the tipped minimum wage – the longest period in U.S. history – there is now no place in America where a full-time worker making the federal minimum wage can afford rent, food, and other essentials.

As a result, millions of our nation’s workers – including many of our celebrated essential workers – are working full-time jobs but are still struggling to make ends meet. One in nine U.S. workers is paid wages that leave them in poverty, even when working full time and year-round.

The Raise the Wage Act will give millions of Americans a long-overdue raise and lift struggling workers and their families out of poverty.

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The Raise the Wage Act of 2021 would:

According to forthcoming analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 would increase wages for nearly 32 million Americans. Once fully phased in, this translates into an annual pay increase of about $3,300 for the average affected year-round worker.

A majority of people who would benefit from a $15 minimum wage are essential and frontline workers who have demonstrated their importance to our communities and our economy throughout the pandemic. More than one-third of those working in residential or nursing care facilities would get a raise.

The Congressional Budget Office’s cautious report on a similar proposal estimated that gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 would lift 1.3 million Americans out of poverty, including 600,000 children. The Raise the Wage Act would increase pay for roughly 6 in 10 working families whose total family income is below the poverty line.

Raising the federal minimum wage is a powerful tool to address racial pay inequality. Under the Raise the Wage Act, nearly one-third of all Black workers and one-quarter of Latinos would get a raise. In addition, women comprise nearly 60 percent of workers who would see their pay increase under the bill.

When we put money in the pockets of low-wage workers and their families, they will spend that money in local businesses. In fact, Congress first established the federal minimum wage in 1938 – under the shadow of the Great Depression – to support American workers and boost the economy. The Raise the Wage Act will help ensure that all Americans share in the economic recovery.

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