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Motion to raise minimum wage garners bicoastal support

Last year marked a movement from San Francisco to New York for lower-paid employees in the retail and food service industries to rally together in protest of near-poverty minimum wage levels. The Gap store stunned employees by making a surprise announcement that it would set forth a motion to establish $9 as a minimum hourly rate for its workers, committing to raise it to $10 in the coming year. This would include its subsidiaries, Old Navy and Banana Republic.

While Congress debates, despite presidential approval, other states are following suit. A current bill in Congress could raise the minimum wage up as high at $10.10 within a couple of years. In a recent report released by the Congressional Budget Office, it was projected that a federally-mandated minimum wage would reduce employment by 0.3 percent or roughly about 500,000 workers.

GOP supporters continue to emphasize job loss, while proponents of the bill maintain an increase in income for over 16 million people. However, wage and hour claims are not always politically motivated. According to one Gap chief executive, the raise is designed to invest in the business by engendering faith and loyalty among its staff, thus positively influencing profits.

In the debate for wage and hour claims, analysts turn to the numbers. However, other benefits of raising the minimum wage may result, such as boosts in employee morale and a promotion of good business practices. The president agrees with Gap's minimum wage increase, and believes it could make a difference nationwide without costing taxpayers one penny.

Anyone who is not being paid the minimum wage for the state of New York should investigate their options through an attorney who deals in employment law. No one should be paid under the minimum wage or work over 40 hours a week without being paid overtime. Employers should not be allowed to take advantage of their employees.

Source: New York Times, "Gap to Raise Minimum Hourly Pay" Steve Greenhouse, Feb. 19, 2014

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