Proposed Minimum Wage Increase

Restaurant Minimum Wage Increase 

Money by Junior Libby

The United States Federal Government is calling for an increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00. This call has put the business world into a tailspin. Every employer of minimum wage workers are up in arms and yelling about the damage this proposed wage increase will do to an already fragile economy.

One of the largest employers in the minimum wage bracket is the restaurant industry. Seminars are being held on the affects of the wage increase, training sessions on cost cutting measures are being implemented and management are looking at staffing levels to see if they can cut staff in order to keep profits at pre increase levels.

Enough!!!! I am sick of this bullshit!!

Ok, a little strong but we here in the US have dug ourselves a huge hole and there is no way to climb out of it. Let’s look at a few facts.

The US has one of the lowest pay scales in the Western world.

You cannot live on $7.25 per hour. This is not a living wage.

Tips are the only way wait staff can survive financially.

The majority of food service staff don’t get tips. (Think fast food and back of house)

People complain that 47% of the population don’t pay tax, don’t contribute to the running of the country and are a burden on the rest who do pay tax. That is very true but here is the problem. If you pay a large percentage of the population a wage that is below poverty level then you cannot expect them to contribute to the country because they have nothing left at the end of the week to give to the tax man. Damn it, they can’t even feed their kids!

I have been lucky enough to work in several countries with differing attitudes to their workforce and from what I see; we treat our workers like crap.

There are many parts of the Western world where the minimum wage is close to $16.00 to $20.00 per hour for an adult full time worker, more on weekends and holidays and they get 4 weeks paid vacation per year. Part time workers get higher hourly rates than that and there are just as many successful restaurants and businesses as here in the US.  These countries also do not encourage tipping for restaurant staff because there is no need to and the menu price is what you pay, inclusive of tax, no tips allowed! The US and maybe a few others are the only countries that give prices without tax. The thing about a minimum wage that actually allows the recipient to live a reasonable life is the fact that everyone pays tax, yep everyone! Those same minimum wage people can also afford to frequent more restaurants and other businesses, spreading the wealth and contributing to the GDP. The other interesting thing about these countries is they fared better in the financial crisis than we did; in fact one did not even go into recession. Many economists agree that we have to adjust the federal minimum wage laws.

I am not saying that we throw out a system that has brought the country to a level of greatness that few can match but maybe it is time for a few changes that will lessen the poverty level for workers that put in a full work week and deserve better from the lucky country. Maybe we can learn from others and ensure that our system grows not only financially but socially as well.

As of this post the US house has voted down the proposed increase to the minimum wage. How can they look themselves in the eye every morning without becoming ill.