Atlanta to study raising minimum wage to $15 per hour

September 9, 20164min1090
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The City of Atlanta will study raising its minimum wage for all full-time workers to at least $15 per hour, phasing in the increases over a three-year period beginning in 2018.

The Atlanta City Council unanimously passed a resolution co-sponsored by Councilmembers Andre Dickens and Felicia Moore to complete the feasibility study by Dec. 14.

“I believe that the quality of services provided in the City to its residents will be advanced because raising the wages reduces costly employee turnover, eliminates disruption in services, increases productivity and creates a more stability work environment,” said Dickens. “Statistics show that increasing the minimum wage will increase consumer purchasing power, increase workers’ standards of living, reduce poverty and stimulate the economy.”

The city already has taken steps to increase pay for full-time employees. In 2015, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, by executive order, raised the minimum wage for full-time workers to $10.10 per hour following President Obama’s announcement in 2013 that he planned to push to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour, index to inflation. Since that time, several municipalities including the city of Clarkston, Georgia; New York City, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Seattle; Pittsburg; Portland; and the States of New York and California have exceeded the $10.10 per hour threshold and have adopted legislation raising their respective minimum wage to $15 per hour for full-time employees.

Currently, the Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which is equivalent to $15,080 annually for a full-time worker. However, the minimum wage in Georgia for employees who are exempt from the Federal Fair Labor Standard Act is $5.15 per hour, which is equivalent to $10,712.00 annually for a full-time worker. Despite inflation, the federal minimum wage has not been increased since 2009.  According to a study conducted by the Institute for Policy Studies, today, the real value of the current federal minimum wage is actually dollars less than it was in 1968 due to inflation.

The city of Atlanta’s resolution requests that the Commissioner of Human Resources and the Chief Financial Officer shall consider as part of the feasibility study to raise the minimum wage:

  • The number of City employees currently making less than $15 per hour.
  • The dollar amount necessary to bring all City employees making less than $15 per hour on par (i.e. to $15 per hour or higher) if the increases are phased in over a three-year period commencing in FY2018 and ending in FY2020.

The increments are to be paid as follows:

  • $12 per hour in FY2018; $13.50 per hour in FY2019 and $15 per hour in FY2020 and thereafter.
  • The effects raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour would have on the City’s workforce (i.e. staffing and potential lay-offs).
  • The effects raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour would have on the City’s pension.
  • The effects raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour for seasonal, temporary and extra-help employees and effect those increases would have on the City’s pension.
  • The effects raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour would have on compression.
  • Sources of funding for the minimum wage increase.
  • Minimum wage data for comparable cities (i.e. Dallas, Charlotte, Seattle, etc.)
  • Minimum wage data for comparable counties (i.e. Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, etc.).

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