Charlotte, N.C. -- On March 8, North Carolina legislators and Raising Wages NC, a growing coalition of workers groups, advocates, businesses and faith leaders, participated in a press conference to announce new legislation that would increase the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $12 an hour by 2020; and $15 an hour by 2022.

North Carolina is one of only 21 states that still maintains the federal minimum wage level. Senator Joyce Waddell, along with other Senate Democrats, sponsored Senate Bill 210, Living Wage By 2022, to assist more than 120,000 citizens surviving on the current minimum wage.

Women make up half of the state’s workforce and are the primary breadwinners in four out of ten households in the state. Currently, more than two-thirds of all workers that earn the minimum wage are women. The current minimum wage provides an estimated annual salary of $14,000, which is just above the federal poverty level of $11,770 for a single person.

If passed, this legislation would help women invest in their future and provide for their children. Raising the minimum wage would benefit nearly 1.3 million citizens, which is one-third of North Carolina’s workforce, and the state’s overall economy. Senate Bill 210 is currently in the Committee On Rules and Operations of the Senate.

The state’s current minimum wage does not provide enough income for impoverished families to survive on. We must free our hard-working citizens from the cycle of poverty. Women should be able to afford necessities and experience economic independence. This legislation would benefit workers and businesses in Senate District 40 and North Carolina as it drives the consumer demand and helps create more jobs in the economy,” said Senator Joyce Waddell.