Minimum Wage

Photo Courtesy of Charlie Hex
Photo Depiction: Pavilions hiring sign

Photo Courtesy of Charlie Hex Photo Depiction: Pavilions hiring sign

Charlie Hex, News Editor

Do you work a minimum wage job? If so, you’re in luck because as of Jan. 1, 2022, California has raised the minimum wage from $14 to $15! This decision was part of a plan introduced in 2017 to raise the minimum wage in California $1 each year until at least 2023.

However, if your job employs less than 25 employees, the minimum wage for you is set at $14 this year, $1 less than jobs with over 25 employees. 

According to the website of Cornell’s Law School, “The national minimum wage was created by Congress under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in 1938.” 

Cornell Law School says that the original purpose of minimum wage was to “…stabilize the post-depression economy and protect the workers in the labor force.” 

According to Sean McWhorter, an economics teacher here at Millikan, wages have kept pace with inflation to help support people who work minimum wage jobs. 

“If wages had risen at the same pace as cost of living, it would probably be $24 an hour,” says McWhorter.

QUEST junior Morgan Vocke says that the minimum wage pay at his Grocery Outlet job is appropriate, but the raise was justified. 

He says that, “with raising taxes as well, things like personal hygiene products, clothing, food, and other necessities like transportation and medical care will be harder to purchase.” 

Vocke also said that they are happy with the $1 minimum wage increase knowing that they’ll be able to “save more for future plans.”

Photo Courtesy of California Department of Industrial Relations
Photo Depiction: California Department of Industrial Relations schedule for California Minimum Wage rate 2017-2023

Overall, while the raise in minimum wage has the potential to raise the costs of everything else even more because according to McWhorter, wages tend to keep a relative pace with inflation. While this is true, the wage increase will also help many workers of this salary afford the costs of everyday life in this new and more expensive world. 

According to McWhorter, “there are two schools of thought: the wage earner now has more income, hopefully to have more things and afford what you need better, and those who pay wages where sometimes the wage increase is unwelcome because cost of production is more expensive.”

Essentially the wage increase is a case of “divergent views on the same thing” says McWhorter. It’s a double edged sword but hopefully the benefit for workers will outweigh some of the costs on employers and the economy.