The council unanimously approved the measure before a packed house.
The plan, which includes a lower training wage aimed at teenagers, will phase in the higher, local minimum over three to seven years, depending on the size of the business and benefits they provide employees. Next April 1, when the plan takes effect, every worker will get at least a $1-an-hour raise.
City officials estimate that about a quarter of workers earn less than $15 an hour. Full-time work at that rate translates to about $31,000 a year.
A trade group representing corporate franchises said it would sue to overturn the plan, saying it puts Seattle owners at a disadvantage to other small businesses.
Washington already has the highest state minimum wage at $9.32 an hour, well above the federal minimum of $7.25…
That’s quite generous. Our minimum wage in the UK works out at $10.58 an hour, for those aged 21 and over. Mind you, I think our average prices for food, clothing, petrol etc are considerably higher than yours.
We should all applaud this move, at least all of us who don’t live in Seattle. There could hardly be a better opportunity to settle the question of whether a high minimum wage is beneficial or harmful than this. Since this plan won’t go fully into effect for another seven years we may not know any time soon, but we’ll know soon enough whether the laws of economics can be repealed by a city council.
Well it would seem a step in the right direction, but the time being taken to initiate the increase pretty much makes the move worthless. By the time they reach the $15hr rate people will need $20 to just make ends meet.
Minimum wages are insulting. People really need to get over the idea that they are OK or even moral. Paying people less money than it takes to survive is disgusting. If they are going to increase the wage, do it all at once, and let the government assist small businesses in the effort. And if you are a person who wants to run your own business start off with paying people enough to live on in the first place or find something else to do.
To be sure, SeaTac’s $15 minimum wage has claimed some casualties.
The 215-room Clarion Hotel closed its full-service restaurant in December, laying off 15 people, said general manager Perry Wall. The hotel also let go a night desk clerk and maintenance employee and is considering a 10 percent increase in room rates for the spring travel season, Wall said.
**He estimates that without a reduction in head count, the hotel’s annual payroll costs would have increased $300,000. **It still employs about 30 people for jobs Wall describes as more in-demand than ever.
Yes, minimum wages are bad. Governmental price controls are always bad. The government has no businesses interfering in contracts. By the government assisting small businesses you mean taxpayers right? Why should taxpayers subsidize businesses? If a business cannot survive without government subsidies then it is inefficient and should go out of business. It is none of your business what wage businesses pay or what wage people agree to work for. If I want to sell my labor for 5$ an hour, who are you to say I can’t?
Minimum wage jobs were never meant to provide ‘an earning wage’. They are jobs on the bottom of the skills and knowledge totem pole and will always be at the bottom of the pay scale. Minimum wage jobs require the least skill, knowledge and experience on the totem pole of jobs. If you are a person who earns minimum wage, learn a trade or skill, and climb your way up the totem pole, or you will always be earning minimum wage. The higher up on the totem pole one advances, with education/skill, knowledge requirements and experience, the higher the pay in accordance to that education, skill, and experience.
The bagger will always earn less than the cashier and stocker, and the cashier/stocker will always earn less than the manager, etc. And those entry level jobs, requiring little skill and knowledge, will always start with minimum wage. Again, increasing with every level of job category requiring more skill, knowledge, and experience.
Increasing the minimum wage will only accomplish bumping up the next level of pay on the totem pole, in proportion to the minimum wage increase, and continue bumping all the way up that pole. It will also increase the cost of goods and services across the board. Thus, increasing the minimum wage will merely raise the cost of living. That’s why they can’t do it all at the same time as you would wish. It would cause a big caustic economic mess.
Seattle can increase their minimum wage to $15/hour, but that will only increase the cost of living, will increase the cost to consumers for goods and services provided by those who earn minimum wage (like McDonalds, Wendy’s, Krogers, etc.), and will increase the pay in increments to those working higher on the totem pole. Unemployment will go up in this area because businesses will cut down on staff to accommodate all of the above. But minimum wage will always be at the bottom, and will always be on the bottom in proportion to the skills and knowledge needed for the job being done.
For the smaller businesses, they will have to lay off employees to absorb the cost of paying a higher wage, and will have to raise their prices. They may have to do something else, but that’s okay. Those who earn businesses won’t be on the bottom of the pay scale because they have a higher level of education, skill, knowledge and experience. Unfortunately, their employees who were working minimum wage will lose their jobs and not make anything. They will have to either get another job earning minimum wage, or work their way up the ladder, just like everyone else has to do.
Rence’s post is spot on. For the record 2 years ago when I moved back to Toronto I was more than able to survive on minimum wage at $10.25 (Canadian). You just have to be disciplined and have a budget.
Tell that to the senior who has only the skills required to get a job in their profession where there aren’t any jobs available, but needs a job anyway, Besides, getting education on minimum wage especially for a senior, doesn’t make it.
One wonders how this will effect other workers’ pay. Union labor, as I understand it, often negotiates contract wages using minimum wage as a sort of baseline. As the minimum goes up, so should our workers, so to speak. And of course, non-union skilled workers, be they wage earners or salaried, will feel the same way, particularly when the inevitable cost of living goes up.
And there is one more thought; while minimum wage is often thought of as a floor for wages, it also becomes a ceiling, where wage increases for productivity become less and less available, and the more productive employee is discouraged from dong more in hopes of a later reward.
Now we can find out how many businesses will be forced to close and/or drastically raise their prices, as this argument against raising minimum wage has been made numerous times, so Im curious to see after a year or two, what condition the local businesses will be in, I bet they will all be fine.