The most interesting HR stories of the week

A third of the workforce earn less than $15 per hour…

America might well hold the crown as commanding the world’s largest economy (experts predict GDP of $25.3 trillion by 2024 – a fifth larger than China’s), but there’s an uncomfortable truth this masks. According to data published this week by anti-poverty group, Oxfam America, some 52 million workers – or one-third of the nation’s labor force – earn less than $15 per hour. As ever, the penury faced by low paid workers is felt hardest by women. Some 40% of female workers earn less than this threshold, but only 25% of men do. Meanwhile 47% of black workers and 46% of Hispanic workers make less than $15 an hour, compared with 26% of white employees. For singles parents, it’s 58% that earn less than $15 per hour. Some states are worse payers than others. In Texas more than 60% of women of color earn less than $15 an hour. In Mississippi, 45% of the state’s workforce makes less than that amount. By contrast, Washington, DC, has a minimum wage of $15.20 an hour. Although President Joe Biden did seek to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, the Senate parliamentarian ruled against including it in the Covid-19 relief bill.

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