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Legislation Introduced to Increase Federal Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour

On January 26, 2021, Senate Democrats introduced legislation to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $15.00 per hour.  House Democrats originally introduced the bill in 2019 as the “Raise the Wage Act,” and the House of Representatives passed the bill on July 18, 2019, however it was not passed in the Senate at that time.  The reintroduced bill would raise the federal minimum wage for the first time since July 24, 2009, when the federal minimum wage was increased from $6.55 per hour to $7.25 per hour.

The bill would increase the hourly federal minimum wage gradually, beginning in 2021 with an increase to $9.50, and increasing annually, to $11.00 in 2022, $12.50 in 2023, $14.00 in 2024, and $15.00 in 2025.  Each annual increase would also result in an increase to the federal tipped minimum wage, for industries in which a tip credit exists for employers, as well as the youth wage and 14(c) wage, which applies to workers with disabilities certified by the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Several states have already taken action to increase the minimum wage under state law including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia.  Similarly, Washington, D.C. has enacted local measures to increase to a $15.00 minimum wage.  In New York, a similar gradual increase framework was implemented to the framework introduced in the Raise the Wage Act.  Beginning December 31, 2016, New York’s minimum wage increased annually, to levels based upon the location and size of the employer.  As of December 31, 2019, employers within New York City, regardless of size, were required to pay employees $15.00 per hour, while Long Island and Westchester employers will reach $15.00 at the end of 2021, and the remainder of the state will see annual increases by the Commissioner of Labor based on economic indices like the Consumer Price Index.

The variance between state and federal minimum wage and overtime compensation laws, as well as the credits against minimum wage contained in each, create a complex landscape of regulation for employees to navigate to determine if they have been paid in accordance with the law.  If your employer has violated your rights by failing to pay you minimum wage or overtime compensation, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. immediately to schedule a consultation through one of our websites,, or any of our phone numbers: (516) 248–5550, (516) ABOGADO, or (212) 679–5000.


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