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Biden to order minimum wage hike for federal contract workers to $15

A statue of Elena the Essential Worker is seen at a rally to support President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan, particularly a provision to raise the national minimum wage to $15 an hour, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on February 8. File Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI
A statue of "Elena the Essential Worker" is seen at a rally to support President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan, particularly a provision to raise the national minimum wage to $15 an hour, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on February 8. File Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

April 27 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden will sign an executive order Tuesday requiring federal agencies to pay contract workers a minimum wage of $15 per hour, the White House said.

The announcement, which will affect hundreds of thousands of contractors, comes weeks after Biden and Democrats in Congress attempted to raise the national hourly minimum wage to $15 as part of the American Rescue Plan.

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Senate Republicans opposed the move and the chamber's parliamentarian ultimately ruled the wage hike couldn't be included in the bill because it was on the budget reconciliation track -- a process by which Democrats were able to pass the relief package without any GOP support.

"These workers are critical to the functioning of the federal government," the White House said in a statement.

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Under the order, all federal agencies must pay contractors at least $15 per hour in new contracts by next April.

The current minimum wage for federal contractors is $10.95 per hour and the tipped minimum wage is $7.65 per hour.

Biden's order will also eliminate the tipped minimum wage for contractors by 2024; automatically adjust the minimum wage yearly due to rises in inflation, beginning in 2022; ensure a $15 minimum wage for federal contract workers with disabilities; and restore minimum wage protections to outfitters and guides on federal lands by revoking an order from former President Donald Trump.

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"This executive order will promote economy and efficiency in federal contracting ... by enhancing worker productivity and generating higher-quality work by boosting workers' health, morale and effort," the White House added. "It will reduce turnover, allowing employers to retain top talent and lower the costs associated with recruitment and training."

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