Workers in the United States marked Labor Day on Monday amid calls for the federal government to increase the national minimum wage from $7.25 per hour.
President Barack Obama’s long-standing push for Congress to increase the rate to at least $10.10 has met serious resistance especially from Republican lawmakers who argue that the rise would be detrimental to job creation.
Although the national minimum wage is set by Congress, states can review what workers are paid within their boundaries; in fact, several of them have over the years increased their hourly rate above the federal benchmark.
These include the District of Columbia, which mandates an hourly rate of $10.50, California, which pays $9.00, Delaware, Alaska, Connecticut and much more.
Still, advocates argue the rates are still below sustainable levels for an average American worker.
And in a major boost set to benefit more than 300,000 workers, President Obama announced guidelines compelling companies contracted by the federal government to pay their employees up to seven days of sick leave per year.
The regulations will kick into effect in 2017, Obama said in a statement.
Zimbabwean Jabulani Themba Moyo, based in Atlanta, Georgia, told Studio 7 the move was a noble one, adding it was also high time Congress acted on the minimum wage.
“The minimum wage should have been increased by now to at least $10.00 or more. I feel that many people work hard and they deserve to be paid a little more,” said Moyo, adding he was celebrating Labor Day over barbeque and drinks with friends.