Video: Can Retail Workers Afford To Buy The Gifts They Sell?

December 24th 2014

ATTN: Staff

As we finish our last minute Christmas shopping today, we should remember the retail workers helping us find Minecraft for our nieces and nephews or lifting Dad's new flat screen into our trucks. Those retail workers have tough jobs, and there will be 4.7 million of them working for just $10.29 an hour as they manage the craziness of Christmas Eve shopping.

How far will that retail worker's pay go this Christmas? Well, the average American household spends $725 on the holidays. It would take a retail worker 70 hours to earn that amount. Not exactly easy to do, especially when hourly employees face unpredictable hours. To put that in perspective, the CEO of an S&P 500 company will make that amount in about 7 minutes.

Adding just $1.50 more an hour would help workers earn an extra $780 each quarter (every three months). That's enough to cover the average household's spending during the holiday season.

A 2013 study from the Economic Policy Institute found that a $2.85 increase in the federal minimum wage would "either directly or indirectly raise the wages of 27.8 million workers, who would receive about $35 billion in additional wages over the phase-in period."  

You can call your congressional member and tell them to raise the wage by dialing 202-244-3121.