The federal minimum wage has stayed at $7.25 an hour since 2009. Due to inflation, this $7.25 in 2009 translates to $5.91 today. Many Democrats, including President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, support raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, which would translate to a yearly wage of $31,200. In contrast, the yearly wage for someone making $7.50 per hour is $15,600. If a family of four was making this, it would put them far below the poverty line of $26,246. In fact, one would have to be single or have a partner who also works full-time at minimum wage in order to stay above the poverty line. However, Republicans are concerned that raising the minimum wage will hurt small businesses that may not have the funds to pay their employees.
In 2019, a bill called Raise the Wage Act was passed by the House of Representatives. This bill focused on raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. However, it never made it to the Republican-controlled senate. Then, the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 was introduced by the House and Senate Democrats at the end of January. This bill would gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025. On March 5, 2021, Senator Bernie Sanders forced a vote in the Senate on the Raise the Wage Act of 2021. It failed to pass by 42-58. All Republicans, as well as eight Democrats, opposed it.
Despite there not being a new federal minimum wage, some states have higher minimum wages than the federal minimum. In fact, only 21 states, which includes North Dakota, are at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Two of these states, Wyoming & Georgia, have a minimum wage of $5.15 per hour. However, employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act must pay the Federal minimum wage.
Other states are actively trying to raise their minimum wage. For example, Utah and Arkansas are trying to pass The Higher Wages for American Workers Act, which would gradually increase hourly pay from $7.25 to $10 over the course of five years. Then, pay would increase to match the rate of inflation.
As of now, North Dakota does not seem to have any plans to increase the minimum wage. The chamber is composed of 80 Republicans, who tend to oppose minimum wage bills, and only 14 Democrats, who tend to support minimum wage bills. Recently, House Bill 1341 was proposed. It planned to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2027, but it failed to pass the chamber by 12-82. Therefore, it doesn’t seem that North Dakota’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is changing anytime soon.
Raise the Wage Act of 2021 Plan:
The 2020 Poverty Threshold Chart would also be good to add, but I don’t know how either