Experts weigh in on the minimum wage debate

Federal minimum wage

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) -The federal minimum wage, currently sits at $7.25, and hasn’t moved since 2009. With how things are looking in Washington right now it doesn’t seem like that may be changing anytime soon.

Mother Awa Melendez said she makes just above minimum wage, but still works hard to make ends meet.

Awa Melendez said she would do anything for her children. Part of that means she works as a part time administrative coordinator, part time barista, and part time interpreter.

Even with all these jobs, and her husband also working her family still struggles.

“We live paycheck to paycheck. We have children. Minimum wage going up would allow us to build a safety net where we don’t have one. To be better prepared to send our daughters to college when the times comes or to build retirement savings which we don’t have,” she said.

According to the MIT living wage calculator for Alabama, for two working adults in the home with no children they would need to make $11.74 an hour to make ends meet.

If you add three children to the mix that number jumps to $21.55 an hour.

That’s not the reality for many here in North Alabama and according to Dr. Mohammad Robbani with Alabama A and M University, the current minimum wage hasn’t caught up with the times.

“To date it is $7.25 cents and if we account for inflation it is at 1968 minimum wage level,” Dr. Robbani said.

What would happen if the federal minimum wage was increased?

He said it could potentially impact mom and pop shops the most.

“That will have impacts on them they may have to lay down because they cannot afford to pay $15,” he said. “The majority of the businesses will get the benefit of the increase.”

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