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Georgia Minimum Wage Increase 2009

Posted by Tamara

Virtually every Georgia employee is entitled to the federal minimum wage, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

On July 24, the federal minimum wage increased by 70 cents from $6.55 per hour to $7.25 per hour. Again, most Georgia employees are entitled to this minimum wage.

The minimum wages of the states will vary, but more than half of them have passed laws guaranteeing that workers will receive minimum wages greater than the federal rate. Whenever a state wage is higher than the federal minimum, the state rate applies.

The increase set to take place on July 24 is the third of three years of guaranteed federal minimum wage hikes that began with the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 signed into law by the previous President on May 24 of that year. The first year of the new Act, the rate went from $5.15 an hour to $5.85. In the second year, it increased from $5.85 to $6.55.

For the 10 years prior to the Fair Minimum Wage Act, the federal minimum sat at $5.15 an hour. Proponents of increasing the minimum wage have noted that the 2006 hourly rate had less purchasing power than the $1.60 an hour minimum of 1968. To match the purchasing power of 1968, they noted, the minimum wage would actually have to be $9.12 an hour. Critics of hiking the minimum wage argue that the increases will result in a reduction in opportunities for employment among persons in minimum wage positions.

During the decade that the federal minimum was stuck at $5.15, members of Congress voted themselves pay average pay raises of $31,600 a year each. The new minimum wage will amount to increases of $4,368 a year, or $84 a week, per worker.

The federal minimum wage applies only to employers with more than 50 workers or with revenues exceeding a half-million dollars a year. Businesses conducting interstate commerce are also subject to the law. That means making goods for out-of-state sale, purchasing materials from out-of-state vendors, or regularly selling goods out of state.

The U.S. Department of Labor notes that failing to pay minimum wage is against the law.








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