Posted by Tamara
Many Wisconsin workers were entitled to a pay increase to $7.25 per hour in July, even though the state minimum wage remains $6.50 per hour.
For ten years, while the federal minimum wage sat at $5.15 an hour, members of Congress voted themselves raises that hiked their salaries by an average of $31,600 each.
That changed in 2007 with the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. According to the new Act, the minimum wages of American workers were increased by 70 cents an hour every year for three years, for a total of $2.10 per hour.
Each hike comes on July 24, and in 2007 on that date the hourly rate went from $5.15 an hour to $5.85. The next was from $5.85 to $6.55 an hour.
The third and final increase occurred on July 24, 2009, when the minimum wage rose from $6.55 to $7.25. Over the three years, the total increase per worker is $84 per week or $4,368 yearly.
The federal minimum wage applies only to those employers who engage in interstate commerce or who earn revenues of more than a half-million dollars a year. A business engages in interstate commerce when it mails to potential out-of-state customers, makes goods sold out of state, buys its supplies from vendors who are outside their state, or accepts credit or debit cards.
It should also be noted that more than half of all states nationwide have passed their own minimum wage laws that are higher $6.55 per hour. Employees in those states are legally entitled to the higher rate.
Paying less than the minimum wage, the U.S. Department of Labor reminds employers, is against the law. It violates the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, also known as the FLSA. The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division enforces the act, which also says that all workers must receive their wages by their regular paydays.
At $5.15 an hour, supporters of the new federal minimum noted, a worker had less purchasing power than he or she would have had in 1968, when the minimum was $1.60 an hour. To be equal to purchasing power, they pointed out, the minimum wage would actually have to be $9.12 an hour.
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