President Biden will mandate federal contractors to pay their workers a minimum wage of $15 an hour by 30 March 2022, senior officials say—an increase that will help a few hundred thousand people and underline the wider Democratic drive to lift the federal pay floor to the same amount.
Biden plans to sign an executive order on Tuesday to kick off the higher-wage rulemaking process, officials told reporters Monday.
Biden’s order will aim to index federal contractors’ minimum wage to inflation. The new federal worker wage floor is $10.95 per hour.
The administration also wants to abolish the tipped minimum wage for federal contractors by raising it to the same minimum wage as all employees on federal contracts by 2024, allowing employers to pay tipped workers $7.65 an hour.
The move would help reporters discuss income inequality. They said they don’t expect the higher wage to increase taxpayers’ expenses because it will improve efficiency and morality, and minimise recruitment and training costs induced by higher turnover.
“These workers are critical to the functioning of the federal government: from cleaning professionals and maintenance workers who ensure that federal employees have safe and clean workplaces, to nursing assistants who care for federal veterans, to cafeterias and other food service workers who ensure that military members have healthy and nutritious food to eat, to workers who construct and repair federal food.
The order follows a similar one from then-President Barack Obama in 2014 that increased federal contractors’ minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
Biden had suggested raising the federal minimum wage up to $15 an hour for all jobs as part of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, but the proposal was stripped following a parliamentary Senate decision as Democrats moved the bill through budget reconciliation.
The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated pay protection for many Americans and galvanised activists to press for better wages for low-and middle-income employees, providing a springboard for Democrats to push the problem.
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