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Kayla Blado or Nick Kauzlarich at news@epi.org or 202-775-8810

EPI Applauds the Introduction of the Raise the Wage Act

32 million U.S. workers would benefit from a $15 federal minimum wage.

WASHINGTON - Today, Congress introduced the Raise the Wage Act of 2021, which will raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, indexes it to median wages to protect against future erosion, and phases out the harmful $2.13 subminimum wage for tipped workers.

This critical policy would lift wages for 32 million workers, the majority of whom work in essential and front-line industries. Raising the minimum wage helps narrow racial and gender pay gap—23% of workers who would benefit from a $15 minimum wage are Black or Latina women. A $15 minimum wage in 2025 would also raise pay for three in five workers with incomes below the federal poverty line.

The Raise the Wage Act of 2021 is not just moral policy, it is also good economics. A $15 minimum wage by 2025 would generate $107 billion in higher wages for workers, boosting annual earnings for the average affected year-round worker by $3,300. Since underpaid workers spend much of their extra earnings, this injection of wages will help stimulate the economy and spur greater business activity and job growth.

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For over a decade, the federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour—the longest it has been unchanged since the minimum wage was established in 1938. Consequently, workers earning the current federal minimum wage are paid less per hour in real dollars than their counterparts were paid 50 years ago.

Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 will help reduce poverty, narrow racial and gender pay gaps, and stimulate the economy. Minimum wage workers deserve a raise. Now is the time for Congress to give it to them.

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The Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit Washington D.C. think tank, was created in 1986 to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers. Today, with global competition expanding, wage inequality rising, and the methods and nature of work changing in fundamental ways, it is as crucial as ever that people who work for a living have a voice in the economic discourse.

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