It’s Labor Day once again and again I am reminded of the myriad of hourly wage workers struggling to make ends meet.
The federal minimum wage hasn’t changed—it’s still $7.25 an hour and has been since 2009. What has changed is what that hourly wage can buy you. Adjusted for inflation, $7.25 had a value of $5.30 in 2009. In 2013, that $7.25 is worth $4.87. The push has been to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10, but even though the raise is championed by the White House, Congress has stalled in passing that legislation.
Local governments are taking it upon themselves to raise the minimum wage for hourly workers in their state or county. In 2013 and 2014, 10 states have raised their minimum wage. Connecticut, Hawaii, and Maryland have voted to raise their minimum wage to the proposed $10.10 an hour incrementally over the next few years. Massachusetts, Vermont, and Washington, DC have voted on even higher future scheduled increases.
In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti plans to raise that city’s minimum wage to more than $13 an hour. Chicago and New York both support a $13 hour minimum wage.
The Seattle City Council voted unanimously in June to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour incrementally. However, franchise owners have challenged that legislation it is unfair to their business model. Franchises are considered part of a whole and if they have more than 500 workers nationally, they will be counted as a “large business” and are expected to increase their wages within 3 years. Small businesses will be given more time to increase workers’ wages.
One of the plaintiffs is BrightStar Care, a home-care agency.
Senior caregivers generally make more than minimum wage through quality home care agencies—typically franchises, but would likely see an increase in hourly pay if the minimum wage in their area increases. Based on a Caregiverlist Spring 2013 Caregiver Pay Survey, most senior caregivers report $10 as their hourly pay rate.
The majority of Americans are in favor of increasing the minimum wage, polls show. However, there is a group of dissenting voices who say that increasing the minimum wage will have very little effect on the poorest of society.
Labor Day, the national holiday observed on the first Monday of September, was first introduced by the Central Labor Union in 1882 to celebrate "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community. The working man’s holiday, the industrialized workforce demanded “Eight Hours for Work, Eight Hours for Rest, Eight Hours for Recreation.”
While we’re out picnicking and barbecuing on Labor Day, let’s remember all the working men and women who make our lives a little easier at just above the poverty line.
We’d love to hear from you if you are a senior caregiver or a franchise owner. How will the increase in minimum wage affect you or your business?
And on behalf of Caregiverlist, a happy end-of-summer!