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  1. Social Security and Retirement
  2. Retirement Age and Social Security
  3. Working at Home
  4. Longer Years of Retirement
  5. Employment trends
  6. Foreign workers in the United States
  7. Mexican Workers in the United States
  8. Workplace Safety Standards
  9. Work-related Injuries and Deaths
  10. Growth of Large Corporate Farming
  11. Union Membership Across the United States
  12. Laws Regarding Working Women
  13. Labor Contracts in the United States
  14. Right-to-Work Laws
  15. Public worker unions in the United States
  16. Unemployment insurance
  17. Equal Opportunity Employment Laws
  18. Workers’ Compensation
  19. Minimum Age for Agricultural Employment
  20. Minors in the Workplace
  21. Minimum Wage
  22. Employment of Persons with Disabilities
  23. Major Equal Employment Legislation in the U.S.
  24. Employment in the Service Sector
  25. Unemployment
  26. State’s Unique Worker’s Compensation Laws
  27. Life on Unemployment
  28. Minimum Wage and Poverty
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A man gives soup to others who are waiting
People line up at a Salvation Army soup line in 1975.
Photo Courtesy of Chris Gulker.
Minimum Wage and Poverty
In some cases, workers can be paid less than the federal minimum wage. Workers under 20 years of age, certain full-time students, workers who earn tips, and apprentices are some of the categories of workers that fall into this category. The minimum wage was instituted to help workers in low-paying jobs have a better life. However, the federal minimum wage is at one of its lowest points in terms of how much a person earning the minimum wage could buy with the money they earn. At present, a person who works fulltime at the minimum wage would have an income well below the poverty level, which is a standard measure of how much income is required to meet basic living standards. Advocates of raising the federal minimum wage point to the drop in its value and argue that workers receiving minimum wage cannot make enough money to pull out of poverty. Those opposed to raising minimum wages often claim that small businesses will be hurt because employers will be forced to cut back on the number of workers they can afford to hire.
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