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Georgia wage and hour law: Should the minimum wage be raised?

A good deal of attention has been paid lately to increasing the federal minimum wage. Some Georgia residents may not realize that the minimum wage has only been part of wage and hour law for about 80 years. The first minimum wage was passed by Congress in 1938 and was $.25. The current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour was set back in 2009.

Increases in the minimum wage have never kept up with inflation. This leaves millions of Americans living at or below the poverty line. Workers across the country are asking the wage to be raised to give low-income workers a chance to escape poverty.

States can determine their own minimum wage if they choose, but it is not required. Georgia established its own minimum wage, but it is less than the federal amount. The Fair Labor Standards Act says employees are to be paid the higher of the two amounts if a state has a minimum wage. Therefore, Georgia employees are currently entitled to collect wages as per the federal minimum standard of $7.25 per hour.

Even so, thousands of people do not receive what is called a "living wage." A living wage is the minimum amount of money a person needs in order to live. Differing opinions exist regarding whether everyone ought to be paid at least a living wage.

Those doing the arguing, however, do not make minimum wage. Many low wage employees rely on wage and hour law to ensure they receive every penny to which they are entitled. When an employee discovers he or she is not being paid what they are lawfully entitled to by an employer, that employee is entitled to file a complaint to seek payment of those monies. There are enough struggles in life without being denied hard-earned wages.

Source: tctimes.com, Minimum wage being outpaced by inflation, William Axford, Dec. 4, 2013

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