The best anti-poverty program is a job that pays a living wage. But here in Louisiana, far too many workers are struggling to afford basic needs because their jobs don’t pay enough.  Senate Bill 162 would address this by requiring that workers be paid at least $8.50 per hour starting in 2020.  At a time when 42 percent of Louisiana households are financially struggling, this simple policy change can boost local economies by giving hundreds of thousands of hard-working Louisianans what they need most: a raise.

Although it only allows for a modest increase in earnings for workers in low-wage jobs, SB 162 would have a substantial impact on working families in Louisiana:

  • More than 71,000 Louisiana workers would get an immediate raise once the $8.50 wage kicks in, as their current wages fall below that threshold.
  • Another 122,000 workers earn slightly above $8.50 an hour, but would also see their paychecks increase as the higher minimum puts upward pressure on their wages.
  • More than 54,000 of the workers who would get a raise are married or single parents. About 105,000 Louisiana children would benefit as their parents earn more.
  • Nearly two-thirds (65.5 percent) of the workers who would receive a wage increase are women. Fourteen percent of all female workers in the state would see their wages rise as a result of the bill.
  • 113,000 workers who would benefit are 25 years of age or older and 90 percent work more than 20 hours per week.
  • More than 27,000 of the workers who would benefit have a college degree.
  • The average annual pay raise for directly affected workers (currently earning below $8.50) would be nearly $1,700.

Research suggests that modest increases in the minimum wage will have no negative effect on jobs. In fact, a minimum wage increase would pump $159 million dollars in additional wages into the state’s economy each year by giving workers more money to spend at local businesses, which could in turn lead to job creation.