US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

White House Report: Women Make Up More Than Half of Workers Who Would Benefit From Harkin-Miller Proposal to Raise Minimum Wage to $10.10

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today in response to a new report from the White House that highlights why the Harkin-Miller proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 is important for women and how it will help reduce poverty among women and families, as well as help to make progress toward closing the gender pay gap.

“Every day, millions of hardworking Americans are struggling to put food on the table and make ends meet. And now that women are the breadwinners or co-breadwinners for two-thirds of American families, they are shouldering more and more of this burden,” Harkin said. “Today’s report from the White House shows why the simple act of raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 is a smart investment for all workers, but particularly for women. Women make up more than half of the workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase—more than 15 million woman total. Additionally, women account for nearly three-quarters of workers in tipped jobs and they would also receive a raise under our bill. Taking action to ensure that every woman receives a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work is a common-sense economic policy that everyone can support.”

In addition to the finding that more than half of the workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase are women, the White House report found that:

  • Women account for 72 percent of all workers in predominantly tipped occupations – such as restaurant servers, bartenders, and hairstylists.
  • Average hourly wages for workers in predominantly tipped occupations are nearly 40 percent lower than overall average hourly wages.
  • Workers in predominantly tipped occupations are twice as likely as other workers to experience poverty, and servers are almost three times as likely to be in poverty.
  • About half of all workers in predominantly tipped occupations would see their earnings increase as a result of Senator Harkin’s proposal.
  • About one-quarter (26 percent) of all workers who would benefit from increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 have dependent children, and 31 percent of female workers who would benefit have children.
  • 2.8 million working single parents would benefit from Senator Harkin’s proposed increase in the full minimum wage, more than 80 percent of whom are women.

The Harkin-Miller bill would raise the minimum wage in three steps to $10.10, then provide for automatic, annual increases linked to changes in the cost of living. It would also gradually, over 6 or more years, raise the minimum wage for tipped workers, which currently stands at just $2.13 an hour, to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage. A wide range of advocates for women and families has endorsed the Harkin-Miller bill, including 9 to 5, American Association of University Women (AAUW), Coalition of Labor Union Women, Jewish Women International, Legal Momentum, MomsRising.org, Mothers Outreach Network, Inc., Ms. Foundation for Women, National Association of Mothers’ Centers, National Council of Jewish Women, National Organization for Women (NOW), National Partnership for Women and Families, National Women’s Law Center, OWL (The Voice of Midlife and Older Women), Wider Opportunities for Women, Women Employed, The Women’s Media Center, and the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

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