While the $15 federal minimum wage was a momentous feat, providing hourly workers across the country with an arguably better quality of life, it has not come without major pushback from, and conflict for, business owners. Whether they have raised menu prices or cut back on employees, the result is general dissatisfaction.
High menu prices are a good tool to combat inflation, but are inherently unappealing to customers, thus prompting them to stay home instead of eating out at the expense of business for restaurants. Cutting back on staff can allow businesses to pay their employees the appropriate wages, however it damages their effectiveness and overall wellbeing as owners struggle to make up for the missing positions, often by themselves. Additionally, the workforce as it stands today is both hungry for opportunities, with the unemployment rate projected to stand at a pandemic low at 5.7% this month, but also recognizant of their new right to at least $15. These dual tides only muddy the grounds further as competition for employees remains fierce but pricey.
Of course the ability to adapt to this new minimum wage has not been as straining to all businesses. Some had already begun raising wages prior to when the federal minimum was raised, even increasing benefits and incentives in addition. But the reality is that the minimum wage is not a universal concept that can be standardized; each company must adapt to it in the different ways that they see fit, whether or not that inevitably means cutting down on staff.
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