SEMA eNews Vol. 22, No. 29, July 18, 2019

U.S. House Passes Bill to Increase Minimum Wage

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to gradually increase the federal minimum hourly wage from $7.25 to $15 by 2024. H.R. 582, the “Raise the Wage Act,” would increase the minimum wage each year in seven steps and then index future increases to median wage growth. If enacted into law, the bill would increase the minimum hourly wage to $8.40 on the first day of the third month after it is enacted. It would then increase to $9.50 one year after the first increase and to the following amounts in each subsequent year: $10.60 in year two, $11.70 in year three, $12.80 in year four, $13.90 in year five and $15 in year six. H.R. 582 requires the U.S. Government Accountability Office to report to Congress on the effects of the first two minimum wage increases on the private sector, including small businesses, in addition to metropolitan, nonmetropolitan, urban and rural areas.

The bill would also gradually phase out lower minimum wages that currently exist for workers under the age of 20, the disabled and tipped workers:

  • H.R. 582 would increase the base hourly wage for tipped workers from $2.13 to $3.60 during the first year after the bill takes effect and in each of the following years until it equals the minimum wage in 2027. Federal law requires employers to provide workers with a “tip credit” if their tips combined with their minimum hourly wage for tipped workers does not add up to the traditional hourly wage.
  • The bill increases the hourly minimum wage for employees younger than 20 from $4.25 to $5.50 for the first year after the bill takes effect and in each of the following years until it equals the minimum wage in 2027. 
  • H.R.582 would also increase the minimum hourly wage for workers with disabilities to $4.25 for the first year after the bill takes effect and would increase the wage over the period of six years until it is equal to the minimum wage. 

If enacted into law, H.R. 582 would mark the first time Congress has passed a law to increase the minimum wage since 2007. However, the U.S. Senate is not expected to take up the bill. Presently, 29 states and Washington, D.C., have minimum wages that are higher than the Federal minimum wage.  

For more information, contact Eric Snyder at erics@sema.org.

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