Biden to sign $15 minimum wage for federal contract workers

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Biden Executive Orders, Will Boost Food Benefits, Workers' Rights.The two executive orders are among those that President Joe Biden will sign on Friday.While the president has proposed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package thatrequires Congressional approval.these two executive orders are designed to offer immediate federal relief under “existing authority.”.These actions are not a substitute for comprehensive legislative relief … but they will provide a critical lifeline to millions of American families, Brian Deese, National Economic Council Director, via CNBC.One order will allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make it possible for states to expand access to the federal food benefit program, SNAP.It also directs the benefit increase of the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer program by up to 15 percent.The program provides meals for low income children who had otherwise been receiving their meals at schools.The other order directs the Labor Department to implement rules allowing workers to choose not to take work that puts their health at risk.without risking their eligibility for jobless benefits.President Biden has also ordered his administration to develop an executive order that raises the minimum wage of federal contractors to $15 an hour.This executive order is slated for the first 100 days of his administration

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is set to sign an executive order to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour for federal contractors, providing a pay bump to hundreds of thousands of workers.

Biden administration officials said the higher wages would lead to greater worker productivity, offsetting any additional costs to taxpayers. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations ahead of Tuesday’s signing.

The officials could not provide an exact figure on how many workers for federal contractors would receive a raise, only that it would be hundreds of thousands. There are an estimated 5 million contract workers in the federal government, according to a posting last year for the Brookings Institution by Paul Light, a public policy professor at New York University.

The increase could be dramatic for workers who earn the current minimum of $10.95 an hour. Those workers would receive a 37% pay hike, though the increase would be rolled out gradually, according to the terms of the order.

All federal agencies would need to include the higher wage in new contract offerings by Jan. 30 of next year. By March 30, agencies would need to implement the higher wage into new contracts. The increase would also be in existing contracts that are extended.

The wage would be indexed to inflation, so it would automatically increase with each year to reflect changes in prices. The tipped minimum wage of $7.65 an hour for federal contractors would be replaced by the standard minimum by 2024.

Biden has pushed to establish a $15 hourly minimum wage nationwide for all workers, making it a part of his coronavirus relief package. But the Senate parliamentarian said the wage hike did not follow the budgetary rules that allowed the $1.9 trillion plan to pass with a simple majority, so it was not included in the bill that became law in March.