With United States political campaigning in full force for next year’s presidential election, we are starting to see continual discussions regarding illegal immigration and how it affects Americans and the economy. One of the discussions tied to immigration is how immigrants affect labor laws in the United States. What defines a livable wage in the United States? How many workers are working off the books for less than minimum wage?
Though we will not try to answer these complicated questions in a blog, they are important questions to ask. And the answers would affect millions of American workers. As politicians weigh in on how to improve the economy and give hard-working folks a sustainable income, the topic of raising the minimum wage to $15 has become a relevant talking point.
Statistically, a worker with two children needs to earn a minimum of $30,135 annually to stay out of poverty. That amounts to $15 per hour for a traditional 40-hour work week. How would that affect the economy? Both sides raise valid points. On one side, businesses suspect that layoffs are inevitable if minimum wage were significantly raised to $15. Proponents of the pay raise state that the increase in wages will lead to an increase in local spending, which would address the concerns of business owners.
Regardless of what will happen with the election and what our politicians will ultimately do with the ever-evolving discussion of employee wages, it is important to always remember that the United States enacted fair labor standards to protect every employee’s rights. And often it is up to the employee to make certain that his or her rights are not violated.
Source: Huffington Post, “The Morality of a $15 Minimum,” Robert Reich, Accessed on Oct. 20, 2015