By July of this year, Washington D.C.’s minimum wage will be nearly twice the federal minimum wage. The United States is made up of a mix of minimum wages, determined based on state and city law. As it stands now, just under half of the states in the U.S. use the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, creating a large gap between states and cities that are upping their standard and those that are not.
The federal minimum wage was first established under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, where the minimum wage was just a quarter. The act established overtime and child labor standards for full-time and part-time workers. The last time the federal minimum wage was updated was in 2009.
Federal and statewide minimum wages have become a hot topic in America. With many primary candidates advocating for a $15 minimum wage. Bernie Sanders, in his 2016 primary run, was the first candidate to advocate raising the minimum wage. Some economists do not support a wage hike, fearing that raising the minimum wage too quickly or raising it at all would put too much pressure on businesses and cause companies to cut jobs.