The battle to boost quick-service workers’ wages may have gained some momentum this week with the release of two studies. The studies, from the University of California, Berkeley, and the National Employment Law Project, suggest that low wages lead many workers to require government assistance, to the tune of up to $7 billion a year.

That $7 billiion assistance figure includes $3.9 million for Medicade insurance and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, $1.9 billion for the Earned Income Tax Credit and just over $1 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, among other expenses.

The most recent findings will no doubt add fuel to the debate over whether the minimum wage needs to be increased. As has been well-chronicled over the last few months, advocates for low-wage workers have targeted the restaurant industry for multiple strikes and protests.

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