Raising the Minimum Wage in Texas

Want to make $15 an hour? Of course, you do! But what does a wage increase really mean for El Paso?

I’m Lawyer Alexandria Serra, this is Lawyer Talk Thursday (catch it every week on Instagram @alexandriaserra), and you’re about to find out.

There is plenty to consider...

In January, we started hearing about increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour. We haven’t had a federal minimum wage increase since 2009. The “Raise the Wage Act of 2021” failed, but some in Congress are fighting for a wage increase. Some state and local governments have increased their minimum wage. Like Seattle – their minimum wage is $16.69 per hour. Keep in mind, the cost of living in Seattle is double what it costs to live in El Paso.


What are people saying are the advantages?

  1. People will be able to afford their bills. The living wage in El Paso is $12.41 for a single person with no kids. That’s far above the minimum.
  2. Employees will be happier in their job and more likely to stay.
  3. It is no secret that minorities and women are underpaid in the workplace. An increase in minimum wage will benefit these folks the most, as they are by far the biggest percentage of minimum wage workers.

What do people say are the disadvantages?

  1. Small businesses would struggle to survive. This would increase jobs overseas and replace people with technology. If unskilled workers are making $15/hr, skilled workers would demand even more.
  2. Would increase childcare costs by an average of 21%. Women will be forced to give up job opportunities because it would be costly to put their children in daycare. 
  3. A uniform minimum wage is unfair because the cost of living varies wildly between states, cities, and communities. The cost of all goods and services will go up.


What’s the difference between a minimum wage and a living wage?


The Minimum Wage is the lowest wage an employer can pay an employee. If the government sets the minimum, you have to pay that or more, or else you’ll get in trouble.


A Living Wage is the dollar amount that factors in location-specific costs of living. They refer to the cost of rent, food, transportation, childcare, and other necessities. It takes into account household sizes – like a single person versus a family with kids. Companies don’t have to pay the living wage – unless it is mandated by the state or local government. Most lawmakers aren’t wanting this to happen all at once – it would be in steps.


Now that we’ve looked at some advantages and disadvantages…


Do you support the $15 minimum wage?


If you have any questions, feel free to email me at info@serralawpllc.com.