Joe Biden Increasing Minimum Wage to $15 for 'Hundreds of Thousands' of Federal Workers

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MANDEL NGAN/Getty Images Joe Biden

President Joe Biden is signing an executive order Tuesday raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour for "hundreds of thousands" of federal contractors, the White House says.

Biden, 78, has pushed for a $15 minimum wage for all workers nationwide, but those efforts stalled in Congress.

The Senate parliamentarian, who referees the body's arcane rules on legislation, said Democrats could not include a wage increase in the most recent COVID-19 relief package

Biden administration officials told reporters in a handout early Tuesday that the president's executive order would apply to federal cleaning professionals, maintenance workers and nursing assistants who care for veterans, as well as cafeteria and other food service workers who serve the military.

There are an estimated 5 million federal contract workers, according to a Brookings Institute review.

The wage increase will go into effect next year. According to Biden officials, the executive order will say that all federal agencies will need to include the $15 minimum wage in job postings by Jan. 30, 2022.

The current minimum wage for federal workers is $10.95 per hour, meaning some workers will see a 37 percent increase in their paychecks.

Biden's order will also eliminate sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, meaning they will also receive $15 per hour, the White House said.

Previously, federal employers were allowed to pay tipped workers less than the minimum wage as long as their tips brought their wage up to the $10.95 mark.

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Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images Joe Biden

ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images Joe Biden

Officials said they believe the wage increase will boost worker productivity and result in "higher-quality work by boosting workers' health, morale, and effort."

The Biden administration also believes the move will decrease turnover and workers' inclination to take more days off.

"As a result of raising the minimum wage, the federal government's work will be done better and faster," the Biden administration's plan reads.

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Officials also argued that the executive order will have a ripple effect across the economy so that other employers who are competing for new hires in the same fields will need to raise their minimum wage to $15 in order to continue recruiting new workers.

The president's new executive order "will build on" the most recent federal minimum wage increase, officials said. That last order was signed in early 2014 by then-President Barack Obama, which raised the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.95 at the time.

Biden expressed disappointment when his push for a national $15 minimum wage was blocked in Congress in February.

Republicans are split on supporting such increases, though conservatives have contended they do more harm than good.

"No one should work 40 hours a week and live below the poverty wage," Biden told CBS News in February. "And if you're making less than $15 an hour, you're living below the poverty wage."