Late last month, more than 100 House Democrats introduced a bill to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9.80 per hour. The time and billing legislation change—representing the first minimum wage increase since 2009—would subsequently allow the final figure to rise with inflation.
Under H.R. 6211, sponsored by California Democratic Representative George Miller, the time and billing compliance alteration would raise the minimum wage by 85 cents per year over a three-year period. The $2.13 minimum wage for tipped employees, such as waitstaff, would be increased by the same yearly amount until it arrives at a total that represents 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.
“Raising the minimum wage helps families make ends meet,” said Miller, who is the ranking member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, in a statement. He pointed out that 47 million Americans currently “qualify as the working poor.”
In court of public opinion, minimum wage increases prevail
In an article for The Washington Post, Jonathan Bernstein notes that the federal minimum wage has been somewhat of an ignored issue over the past few years—likely due to the recession. In fact, according to polling archive site PollingReport.com, the last time pollsters took the time to gauge public opinion on minimum wage was early 2007, when the possibility of raising the figure from $5.15 per hour was in question. Then, polls from several different sources revealed that the public was “overwhelmingly in favor of the increase.” Specifically, a CBS/New York Times poll had 85 percent of respondents—and three-quarters of Republicans—supporting the raise, while 76 percent of those polled by NBC approved an increase.
“While the value of the minimum wage is still higher than it was in 2006, I’d still be surprised if the polling was any different,” Bernstein writes. “This is clearly a rare issue on which the parties take sharply different positions but that public opinion is lopsidedly in favor of one side.”
That said, Bernstein pointed out that at this stage of the game, it would not be realistic for a minimum wage increase to pass through Congress and be signed into law before the November elections.
In the event of new time and expense legislation being passed, professionals will have to ensure their time and billing software is updated to comply with the new regulations.