In 1997, the U.S. Congress raised the federal minimum wage to $5.15 an hour. That was the last time some workers received a pay raise, according to an Associated Press article. These workers will be happy to hear that when Congress convenes in early January, a top priority of the meeting will be to raise the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, phased in over 26 months.

Although workers who are currently working for under $7.25 are elated to hear the news, employers are singing a different tune. Some business-owners comment that they will be forced to raise their prices or cut workers' hours to compensate for the raises.

The federal minimum wage is seen as a national wage floor, according to the article, but most states can, and have, set minimum wages above the federal level. Even so, the 10-year span is the longest stretch without an increase since the minimum wage was established in 1938. And factoring in inflation, the current wage is the lowest it has been in roughly 50 years.

Read more about the debate here.