Minimum wage debate can wait

If you are a worker making minimum wage, then you obviously are in favor of raising the minimum wage.

But if you are a small business owner, you probably wonder why this is an issue at this time - in the middle of the worst health pandemic in about 100 years.

You have a good point.

We should not be debating the minimum wage issue at this incredibly shaky economic time in the United States. It just doesn’t make any common sense.

The current federal minimum wage, established in 2009, is set at $7.25 per hour. States have the option to set a higher minimum wage and 29 actually do have a higher one.

The federal law requires non-exempt (employees who are paid hourly) to receive no less than that amount for each hour worked.

If enacted at the end of March 2021, the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 (S. 53, as introduced on Jan. 26, 2021) would raise the federal minimum wage, in annual increments, to $15 per hour by June 2025 and then adjust it to increase at the same rate as median hourly wages.

On Jan. 22, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to put federal agencies on the path toward raising the minimum wage for federal employees and contract workers to $15 per hour and providing them with emergency paid leave.

Unlike the federal government that works with a seemingly infinite budget, however, small business owners know that higher wages increase the likelihood of three things in their businesses - a decrease in minimum wage employees, a decrease in the hours worked by minimum wage employees and/or a price increase for the goods and services they provide.

It used to be that young, new workers to the workforce were paid the minimum wage as a good entry-level pay for part-time jobs in their high school years. Nowadays, it seems, the federal government wants to make the minimum wage a good living wage. 

This debate on the minimum wage is another example of elections having consequences.

Call your Congress people and tell them that this is not the time to debate minimum wages.   

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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