Do most employers pay minimum-wage workers more than $7.25/hour? YES! (And it’s not even close)

minimumwageSince July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees has been $7.25 per hour. Many states and cities have raised that floor, with some cities, like Seattle, headed to $15/hr.

But, federally, despite pressure from many to raise it, we’ve been stuck at a $7.25 minimum wage for over 7 years.

And, you’d think that with the new overtime rules going into effect on December 1, American businesses wouldn’t be too keen on paying their minimum wage workers any more than is required.

Except, you’d be wrong. Well, at least that’s what the latest survey from indicates:


Here’s a breakdown of what employees plan on paying minimum wage workers this year:

  • Less than $8:00: 11 percent

  • $8.00-$8.99 per hour: 23 percent

  • $9.00-$9.99 per hour: 14 percent

  • $10.00-$10.99 per hour: 21 percent

  • $11.00-$11.99 per hour: 7 percent

  • $12.00-$12.99 per hour: 8 percent

  • $13.00-$13.99 per hour: 6 percent

  • $14.00-$14.99 per hour: 5 percent

  • $15.00 or more per hour: 6 percent

And the reasons for doing so sound fairly magnanimous. Most surveyed employers said higher pay can improve the standard of living (72 percent). Others valued the positive effect on employee retention (59 percent) and the positive overall effect on the economy (53 percent).

I’ll leave the arguments on whether to raise the minimum wage to the experts — I’m just one dork with a dork blog. But, right now, the huge majority of business blow the federal minimum wage out of the water!

  • E O

    Thank you. You had perfect timing in my world with this post: I used it as a reference for a FB discussion.

  • Heavy Metal Lawyer

    There are few places where $15.00/hr is a realistic living wage for a family. So while I’m glad that most employers aren’t paying the bare minimum, I’m not sure that paying 3 or 4 bucks more per hour is really laudable, especially when some of the companies that employ the most minimum wage workers are headed by people who make millions exploiting that cheap labor. Paying $10/hr instead of $7.25 only makes them slightly less despicable.

    I’m also not sure that raising the minimum wage is the answer, because as we all know, someone has to be at the bottom, and raising minimum wage will spur inflation more than it will get us closer to equality. My personal thoughts have always been that the lowest paid worker at a company should have a mandatory floor wage of some percent of what the top paid person is paid. So if you want to pay your CEO $1 million/year, that’s great, but then the bottom worker has to make at least 1/20 of that ($50,000/year) or something like that; pick whatever formula seems fair. I’m actually surprised I haven’t seen a policy like this proposed at some point. It would allow companies autonomy while ensuring fairness.

  • Mike Harrington

    As a Seattle lawyer, and knowing that the rest of the USA watches our every move, it was interesting to see that the UW’s Seattle Minimum Wage Study found that “although the ordinance appears to have boosted wages for the city’s lowest-paid workers, the benefits of the increase may have been partly offset by fewer hours worked per person and slightly less overall employment.”