Federal Bills to Increase Minimum Wage and Combat Pay Bias Make Their Way through Congress

Making the news lately are two federal bills to increase minimum wage and combat pay bias currently being debated by Congress.

The House of Representatives will vote this week on the Paycheck Fairness Act (HR. 7/S. 270). If this name sounds familiar, that’s likely because this bill has been introduced in every Congress since 1997. The bill would amend the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, our main source of federal wage and hour law, to provide more effective remedies to victims of pay discrimination. More specifically, the bill would require companies to show that pay disparities among workers doing the same job are based on “bona fide job-related factors” that are “consistent with business necessity.” It also would protect workers from retaliation for discussing or sharing pay information on the job. Click here for the bill text and status.

Soon after, the House will vote on the Raise the Wage Act (H.R. 582/S. 120). This bill would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. The federal minimum wage was last raised from $5.15 per hour to its current rate of $7.25 per hour in 2009. In addition to raising the federal minimum wage, the bill would remove the subminimum wage currently allowed for disabled workers and gradually increase the tipped minimum wage from its current rate of $2.13 per hour to $15 per hour. Click here for the bill text and status.

Both bills are expected to pass the House where Democrat supporters hold a majority. However, these bills may not pass the Senate where Republicans hold a majority.

We will continue to track the progress of these bills and update members on how to comply if either bill becomes law.