I heard on the radio the other day that Washington state was going to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. This is TWICE the national minimum wage standard required by the federal government.
While it may seem nice to provide all of those who rely on minimum wage jobs with better wages doubling the minimum wage is going to cause more harm than good.
Some people will likely benefit from working low wage jobs if and when this takes effect, however for a majority of low wage earners they will undoubtedly find that they no longer will have a source of income as many small business owners will lay off many of their staff to mitigate the increased operating expenses these increases bring with them.
This means less workers performing the same amount of tasks. Granted low paying jobs come with minimal responsibilities, so as pay increases the responsibilities of each employee will thus have to be increased, as well as the productivity levels that they will be expected to attain.
Not only is this a direct threat to a majority of the people who hold these low wage jobs that have minimal responsibilities, but this is also going to effect workers with higher specialty skills that are currently making close to the $15 per hour wage that will become the new minimum wage. Why would any worker want to continue on in a position that has greater responsibility and skill level at the same rate that someone with little to no skill is making? If these workers who are currently making close to the new $15 per hour minimum wage do not themselves see a similar raise in their income, then I foresee that many of them will seek similarly paying jobs, that have historically been seen as low paying jobs such as within the fast food or janitorial industries.
With higher skilled workers seeking to leave their employment for lesser skilled work they will then begin to replace the unskilled workers in the low wage positions. Why? Because as an employer wouldn't you rather higher someone with a higher skill set which usually would equate to a better work ethic, or would you rather hire the lowest common denominator?
This will also lead to the increase of costs for goods and services, as well as an increased turn around time for goods and services as less workers would be performing the same tasks.
None of this is good for the economy, the small businesses and employees affected by such a large increase.
Minimum wage jobs are generally filled by unskilled workers, and have historically never been considered as careers or used to support a family. Many minimum wage jobs are redundant or unnecessary. Many small businesses hire minimum wage workers in attempts to give back to the communities that they do business in, and provide opportunities to those communities. Increasing the minimum wages so dramatically is going to cause many of these redundant or unnecessary jobs to be eliminated, or replaced with more skilled workers who are able to provide more productivity.
Higher paid or skilled workers will also suffer as raises and possibly pay reductions may ensue in order to maintain payroll, as a means to cover the added costs associated with providing all employees a minimum wage of $15 per hour.