Workers Across the Commonwealth Celebrate As Democrats Protect Our Progress On Minimum Wage 

Richmond, Virginia—Members of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor voted today to block two bills that would have capped the minimum wage at $11 an hour. HB296 and HB320 both would have capped the minimum wage at just $11 an hour, though they went about it in slightly different ways. The minimum wage is currently set to raise to $12 an hour in 2023 before members of the legislature have to vote again to eventually raise it to $15 an hour by 2026. These bills would have stopped that progress, and working families are thrilled that Democratic members of the Senate Committee stood up for them by blocking these anti-family bills. 

“We’re thrilled that Democrats in the Senate rejected HB296 and HB320. Democrats have proven over and over this session that they will protect our progress and make sure that families in Virginia don’t go backwards,” LaTwyla Mathias, Executive Director at Progress Virginia said. “No one should have to choose between putting food on the table to feed their kids or keeping the lights on so their kids can do their homework at the dinner table. But capping the minimum wage at just $11 an hour would make it that much harder for hardworking families in our community to make ends meet. We need a minimum wage of at least $15 an hour so everyone in our community can thrive.”

“Virginia’s working families deserve a raise and a voice on the job, not pay cuts. So, we’re very glad to see Senate Democrats reject this bill to cap the minimum wage at just $11 an hour,” David Broder, President of SEIU Virginia 512, said. “Everyone deserves a good job so we can take care of ourselves, our families and our communities. Raising the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour and ensuring union rights for all workers is critical to building a Commonwealth where everyone – regardless of the color of our skin, our gender identity, where we come from or where we live – can thrive.” 

Background: 

Data from the Economic Policy Institute. More information available from The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis. 

Low wage workers are supporting families. 

  • 6 in 10 low wage workers are women. 
  • One-quarter of workers who would benefit from raising the minimum wage are supporting children. 
  • 300,000 Virginia children live in a household that would see increased income from increasing the wage. 

Low wage workers are working full time. 

  • 774,000 full-time workers in Virginia would be affected by raising the minimum wage. 
  • 61% of all Virginians who would benefit from an increased minimum wage are working full time. 

Low wage workers are older: 

  • Most low wage workers aren’t teenagers looking for spending money. 
  • 92% of impacted workers are 20 years old or older. 
  • 70% of impacted workers are 25 years old or older. 
  • These are adults who are building their lives and raising families on a minimum wage income.  

Raising the minimum wage is good for the economy. 

  • Raising the wage to $15/hour over five years would generate a total wage increase in Virginia of $5,534,108,000.