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Briefcase: Minimum Wage Laws

Host: Dean Leonard Baynes



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On this week’s Briefcase, Dean Leonard Baynes with the University of Houston Law Center discusses the United States’ minimum wage laws.

“The federal minimum wage was established under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the act set the minimum wage at 25 cents an hour. Subsequent amendments to the law have increased the minimum wage amount to what it is today–7 dollars and 25 cents an hour. If the employee works full time, that would total approximately $15,000 per year.”

“States like New York, New Jersey, and California have raised, or plan to raise, their minimum wage to $15 per hour, which would be about $30,000, full time on an annual basis. Texas has stayed at the federal level of 7 dollars and 25 cents. These amounts put workers at or near the federal poverty line of $30,000 per year for a family of four. For changes at the federal level, only Congress has the power to raise the rate.”

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