Atlanta Budget Bumps Minimum Wage to $13

For decades, Atlanta, Georgia, has provided an affordable cost of living, especially in comparison to other large American cities. Perhaps this is the reason for its recent increase in population. According to several sources, the metro Atlanta area has added over 200,000 new residents since 2013. Recently, to go along with Atlanta's low cost of living, the city has also decided to increase the minimum wage for its city employees. Without a doubt, Atlanta is a city on the rise.

Atlanta Raises City Workers' Pay

In June 2017, the Atlanta City Council approved its budget for the 2018 fiscal year. One big change to that budget includes a raise in the minimum wage for city workers. While the previous minimum wage was $10.10 per hour, the city council has decided to increase that pay rate to $13 per hour. In comparison, the state's minimum wage remains $5.15 per hour, though federal standards have bumped it up to $7.25 per hour.

Other Atlanta Workers' Pay Increases

In addition to the city's decision to increase minimum wage by nearly 30%, the city has also put forth the following changes:

  1. An increase to $14 for city workers in the year 2019
  2. A 3% pay increase for all other city workers in 2018, with the exception of those already earning $150,000 per year and above
  3. Raising the starting pay for firemen to $40k/year

The pay changes went into effect on July 1, 2017, and the city council plans to increase that minimum pay rate for city workers to $15 per year over the next two years.

The Plea for Minimum Wage Raises

Atlanta's choice to increase pay for city workers could affect more than just workers in Atlanta. There has been much talk recently about increasing the federal minimum wage as well as minimum wage in other American cities, such as Seattle. Cities like Atlanta could serve as an example to other workers who are fighting for more pay. However, the federal minimum wage has not changed since 2009, though some states have a minimum wage listed above federal standards. As of July 2017, more than two dozen states currently have a minimum wage set above the federal requirement of $7.25/hour.

For years, people have debated about whether to increase the federal minimum wage. Human rights groups often push for a living wage, which would take into account the cost of living in an area while setting a minimum pay standard. Many sources say there is a gap between the American federal minimum wage and how much a person would actually have to spend to live in each American state.

Atlanta, along with other cities and towns that have increased pay for workers, have done so to reduce financial strain on the working poor. The minimum wage increase for Atlanta city employees will directly affect approximately 360 city workers. However, this pay increase could also help inspire other cities and states to take similar measures.