WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is preparing to sign an executive order to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour for federal contractors.
Administration officials say the order will provide a pay bump to hundreds of thousands of those workers, including nursing assistants and laborers. They say workers will become more productive as a result, so the increase should not be costly to taxpayers.
The increase to be approved under Tuesday's executive order could be dramatic for workers who earn the current minimum of $10.95 an hour.
Those workers would receive a 37% pay hike, though the increase would be rolled out gradually.
Biden attempted to pass a universal $15 minimum wage as part of a $1.2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package earlier this year. However, that language was eventually removed after an independent arbiter said a minimum wage increase could not be included if the administration wanted to pass the bill as a budget bill — a move that sped up the process for the bill’s passage.
The decision to remove the minimum wage increase from the stimulus angered progressive members of the Democratic party, who argued that an federal wage increase is needed after more than a decade of remaining at $7.25 an hour. However, several of the party’s most moderate members signaled that they would not have supported the increase, which would have put the bill in jeopardy in the narrowly contested Senate.