Biden Signs Executive Order Increasing Federal Contract Workers’ Minimum Wage to $15 Hourly

President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Tuesday to bump up the minimum wage to $15 an hour for federal contractors, offering a pay increase to hundreds of thousands of workers, the Associated Press reported.

Biden’s administration officials said that the heftier increase in wages would lead to a better output of work, while reducing, subsequently, any additional costs to taxpayers, according to the article.

“This executive order will promote economy and efficiency in federal contracting, providing value for taxpayers by enhancing worker productivity and generating higher-quality work by boosting workers’ health, morale, and effort,” the White House said in a statement.

The liberal Economic Policy Institute reports that roughly 390,000 low-wage federal contractors would receive a raise, with roughly half of them being Black or Hispanic workers. There are an estimated 5 million contract workers in the federal government, according to information last year for the Brookings Institution by Paul Light, a public policy professor at New York University, per the article.

Before the executive order was signed, these workers earned a minimum of $10.95 an hour. They now would receive a 37% pay hike, though the increase dolled out steadily, according to the terms of the order.

The White House added the workers would include cleaning professionals and maintenance workers, nursing assistants who help veterans, cafeteria workers providing for the military and laborers who build and fix federal infrastructure, per the article.

The higher wage in new contract offerings needs to be reflective of Biden’s order by Jan. 30.

“By March 30, agencies would need to implement the higher wage into new contracts,” according to the article.

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