WASHINGTON (AP) — Labor Secretary Thomas Perez issued a final rule on Wednesday raising the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors to $10.10 an hour.

The action puts in force a step announced by President Barack Obama in February. The Labor Department said nearly 200,000 American workers will benefit from the new minimum, which takes effect Jan 1.

The minimum federal wage is now $7.25 an hour. Obama has proposed the higher pay level for all workers, but that has drawn resistance from Republicans in Congress. In announcing the new rule, Perez said that "by raising the minimum wage for workers on federal contracts, we're rewarding a hard day's work with fair pay."

The move comes as the agency prepares to announce how it will implement and enforce steps to extend federal minimum wage and overtime pay protections to home-care workers. The protections are due to take effect Jan. 1.

The contract-workers minimum wage rule provides guidance and sets standards for employers. It also spells out record-keeping requirements and enforcement procedures, the Labor Department said.

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