Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) reintroduced a $15 minimum wage bill to Congress. The bill would more than double the current federal minimum wage of $7.25.
While the bill “stands little chance of passing in a Republican-controlled Congress,” Sanders and his supporters are hoping it will, at the very least, put the pressure on GOP lawmakers to stand up for the American working class.
After all, there are nearly 4.3 million low-wage workers across the country struggling to make ends meet. And the federal minimum wage hasn’t changed since 2009. In fact, adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage peaked in 1968 — and it’s been on the decline ever since.
With that in mind, it’s no wonder employees everywhere are rallying for higher pay. But how would a $15 minimum wage affect American business owners?
According to an independent survey of 500 small business owners across the country, 14 percent say they would be forced to let some employees go if the minimum wage rate were to rise. Another 28 percent admit that a higher minimum wage would restrict them from hiring the help they need to grow their business.
But nearly one-third of business owners agree that a boost to their employees’ paychecks would actually be a good thing. They believe a higher minimum wage would not only improve employee retention rates, and cut down on expensive turnover costs, but also increase productivity — leading to big wins for their bottom line.
Need proof? McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook recently raised the hourly rate to nearly $10 for U.S. employees. As a result, McDonald’s sales have been on the rise for the first time in years. “The improvements we made to our compensation … have resulted in lower crew turnover and higher customer satisfaction scores,” Easterbrook said.
And several states are already catching on. Earlier this year, 19 states raised the minimum wage for small businesses within their state lines, and more have plans boost their minimum wage even further over the next five years. Meanwhile, conversations surrounding minimum wage continue to take place in Congress and the White House.
Because a minimum wage increase (at least, to some degree) is most likely inevitable, we sat down with Frank Tresnak, business development manager at Symmetry Software (home of PaycheckCity.com), to find out how business owners everywhere can make a smooth transition to a higher minimum wage, without losing people or profits in the process.
“It all comes down to knowing which jurisdiction, or jurisdictions, you’re in, knowing where your business fits into the minimum wage equation, and staying on top of pending legislation that could affect you,” Tresnak said.
For more of Frank Tresnak’s advice, check out “3 Things You Need to Know to Comply With Minimum Wage Requirements.”