APA Supports the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 (S. 460)

Dear Senator:

I am writing on behalf of the nearly 130,000 members and affiliates of the American Psychological Association to urge you to support the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 (S. 460). Our membership comprises university professors, researchers, clinicians, program directors, and graduate students across the country and internationally. This legislation is necessary to improve the well-being of low-income families by lifting them out of poverty. Currently, a worker with a child can be employed full-time at the minimum wage and still earn an income that is below the federal poverty line. 

Psychological research documents how poor families struggle with the constant stress of financial insecurity, including the inability to pay for the very basics in life, whether utility bills, food, medical expenses, or housing. The myriad of stressors experienced by parents and children in poverty affect children’s academic achievement, as well as their physical and emotional well-being and development. Research from a variety of disciplines shows that even a modest increase in the household income of poor families yields multiple positive long-term outcomes for children. These outcomes include higher levels of education, lower levels of criminality, and reductions in certain emotional and behavioral disorders and substance use. Research also shows that the quality of parenting in low-income families improves with even small increases in income.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 would raise the minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 to $10.10 per hour, resulting in an increase in annual salary from $15,080 to $21,000 per year for a full-time job. It would also raise the minimum wage for tipped workers who currently earn only $2.13 per hour. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 16.5 million workers across the country would benefit from increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, including 900,000 who would be lifted above the federal poverty line. While the CBO also suggests the potential for job loss, the number of workers who might be affected by job loss is offset by those millions of workers that would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage. Furthermore, the increased income of low-wage workers would increase economic activity, perhaps spurring new job creation. The minimum wage has lost much of its value over the last few decades due to inflation. This legislation would put our nation back on track so that no one who works full-time in America earns a salary that is below the federal poverty level.

We urge you to support the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 to increase economic opportunity and upward mobility, while reducing the adverse effects of financial stress and poverty on our nation’s families. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Roberta Downing, PhD, in our Public Interest Government Relations Office, by email or at (202) 336-5931.

Sincerely,

Norman B. Anderson, PhD
Chief Executive Officer