Joe Biden wants a $15 minimum wage – will the coronavirus pandemic make that more likely?

By Elisabeth Buchwald

July 25, 2020

A $15-an-hour federal minimum wage has long been on many Democratic lawmakers’ wish lists. They could have the chance to cross that goal off their lists come November with former Vice President Joe Biden ahead of President Donald Trump in several recent polls.

Even before the pandemic, in Biden’s first official campaign speech, he promised to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour if elected president. The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 an hour since 2009, which comes out to roughly $15,000 a year for someone working 40 hours a week.

The conversation around increasing the minimum wage has shifted as the pandemic has highlighted the lack of labor protections, such as paid sick leave and hazard pay, for essential workers who risk their health and are typically paid low wages.

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