The Washington (D.C.) city council voted to raise the minimum wage to $11.50. Workers at Wal-Mart Stores protested on Black Friday. And President Obama is talking about about wage stagnation and income inequality in a speech today. Now there’s new focus on an unexpected corner of low-wage earners: bank tellers.
Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley calculate that almost a third of all bank tellers receive some form of government assistance, according to the Washington Post. That includes $534 million for health insurance through Medicaid and coverage for low-income children, $250 million in tax credits for low and moderate earners, and more than $100 million in food stamps. They qualify for government aid because, on average, the country’s half a million tellers earn about $25,790 a year, or $12.40 an hour (if they work a 40-hour work week), according to the most recent government data. That’s less than similar administrative jobs, and tellers are also more likely to be part-time employees.