President Joe Biden wants to give low-wage workers a big raise – but the business community is urging Washington not to rush the first minimum wage hike since 2009.
In a letter to Congressional leaders, the Business Roundtable suggested for the first time that the minimum wage hike should be linked to progress in defeating the coronavirus pandemic.
“In the context of a major recession involving millions of small business job losses, this will require an appropriate phase-in and, potentially, triggers tied to the end of the pandemic,” Business Roundtable CEO Josh Bolten wrote in the Tuesday letter.
The Business Roundtable did not specify what those triggers would be.
Biden’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, up from $7.25, has run into resistance by concerns it would hurt small businesses and cost jobs.
The Business Roundtable reiterated support for a federal minimum wage hike but said it should be “thoughtfully designed to reflect regional differences in wage rates and not undermine small business recovery.”
The group also repeated that the minimum wage debate should be separate from Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief package so not to delay efforts to end the pandemic and boost the economy.