Fair Minimum Wage Act

Summary: The Fair Minimum Wage Act raises the minimum wage and provides an automatic cost-of-living increase each year.

Note on advocacy: Raising the minimum wage is terrific policy and politics. It’s great policy because nearly a third of American workers currently earn less than $15 an hour. That includes 25 percent of men, 40 percent of women, 26 percent of white workers, 46 percent of Latino workers, and 47 percent of Black workers. These are not teenagers, 89 percent are age 20 or older. It’s great politics because the minimum wage is one of the few public policies that Americans understand quite well. Opponents certainly try to lie in their arguments, but average Americans know better.


This Act shall be called the “Fair Minimum Wage Act.”


(A) FINDINGS­—The legislature finds that:

1. The current minimum wage is insufficient to keep families out of poverty.

2. Due to inflation and federal inaction, the value of the federal minimum wage has plummeted.

3. State services are strained by families of minimum-wage workers who qualify for public programs like Medicaid and SCHIP.

(B) PURPOSE—This law is enacted to increase the wages of low-income workers, promote the economic strength of the state, and take pressure off state social service programs.


After section XXX, the following new section XXX shall be inserted:

1. No employer shall pay less than the [State] minimum wage designated in this section to each employee in every occupation.

2. The minimum wage for employees shall be $X.XX per hour, beginning on July 1, 20XX.

3. On September 30, 20XX, and on September 30 of each following year, the Secretary [of Labor] shall calculate an adjusted minimum wage rate in direct proportion to an increase or decrease in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), or a successor index, for the prior period of July 1 to June 30. That adjusted minimum wage shall take effect on the following January 1.

4. Employers, including employers regulated under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, may not include any amount received by employees as commissions or tips in determining the amount of the minimum wage required to be paid. [Compromise language: For occupations in which commissions or tips are customarily recognized as part of the remuneration for employment, employers are entitled to an allowance for these gratuities in an amount not to exceed XX percent of the minimum wage rate. The Secretary [of Labor] shall require each employer that desires an allowance for such gratuities to provide substantial evidence that the amount claimed was actually received by the employee in the period for which the claim of exemption is made, and no part thereof was returned to the employer.]


This Act shall take effect on July 1, 20XX.