Since it was first instituted in 1938, the federal minimum wage has established a floor for wages. While not every worker is eligible, it provides a minimum of earnings for the lowest-paid workers.
Many states and even municipalities have their own minimum wages, including twenty that have rates higher than the federal minimum wage.
- The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
- A full-time minimum wage employee earns $15,080 annually.
- In 2012, the poverty threshold for a single person was $11,945. For a family of four with two children it was $22,283.
An individual working full time at minimum wage will make enough to live above above the poverty line. However, if he or she is is the sole earner for a family of four, that income is only 65 percent of the federal poverty guideline.
U.S. Census Bureau, Poverty Thresholds by Size of Family and Number of Children (XLS) Accessed 7/9/2013
U.S. Dept. of Labor. Wages. Accessed 7/12/2013
U.S. Dept. of Labor. Wage and Hour Division. Accessed 11/5 2013