BOSTON — Many Americans want to raise the minimum wage — quickly, before there’s another fast-food strike.
US President Barack Obama has backed a Senate effort to do just that. Meanwhile, minimum wage in 13 states will go up starting on Jan. 1. But, for now, federal minimum wage stands at $7.25 an hour.
It may not sound so low, but it is. If an employee works full time at the current minimum wage, that worker’s annual salary would be about $15,000. That falls below the poverty line for any family of more than one.
Adding insult to injury: The purchasing value of $7.25 today, adjusting for inflation, is actually 30 percent lower than it was four decades years ago.
It turns out many other countries also have serious issues with minimum wage. They’ve tried all kinds of things: a flat minimum wage, a sliding scale, different scales for different jobs; or even none at all. Germans could soon have a minimum wage for the first time in their history.
GlobalPost correspondents found some instructive examples from the countries where they live and work. They might offer some lessons for the United States.
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