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Minimum Wage Increase

The proposed minimum wage increase is $2.40. Illinois is proposing an increase from $8.25 to $10.65 by mid 2016. There is all this hoopla of how it’s not going to help, but hurt the economy! Seriously? Think about this for a minute – athletes are millionaires; actors are paid millions to act out violence in movies; Millions of dollars help settle lawsuits. Donald Sterling (soon to be former LA Clippers owner), and the people of Illinois are complaining about a $2.40 to increase minimum wage for Americans to live the “American Dream”.  Are we listening to ourselves?2-40

I read a comment that a $10 an hour job is not meant to be a career…. Really? Lets think about that.  Prior to the recent news about college football players unionizing, players played because they were good athletes and were expected to go above and beyond to get to the pros. Look at how their careers blossom.

  • Now college football players are being paid to play and launch their CAREER.
  • Many students complete unpaid internships that work for companies only to gain experience to launch their CAREER.
  • Student teachers are required to have a certain amount of hours before they can graduate, get their own class and earn a paycheck.
  • So yes, even an unpaid or a $10 an hour job can and does turn into a CAREER.  

The Reality.

Companies may struggle with the new minimum wage; costs for insurance and workers’ compensation may increase. But with everything else increasing, i.e. gas, meat, and other day-to-day living expenses, doesn’t it make CENTS to increase an employee’s pay?

The good!

By increasing the minimum wage to $10.65 (Illinois), employers can attract more skilled, more loyal, more CAREER driven workers and retain them. Retention is key in growing a business. Retention impacts and lowers an employer’s turnover rate. Turnover adds up and costs the company more than $10 an hour. Turnover hurts a business, not only in profits, but it could cost your business in customer confidence.

Let’s focus on the long term rather than the short term. Increasing minimum wage is a way to invest in your employees that through retention leads to business growth, improved company knowledge, CAREER paths instead of jobs, and professional development.


Minimum wage will start to permit an employee to live a comfortable life, not requiring them to hold down 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet. This allows them to focus on becoming a good employee, increase their knowledge about your product, your brand, and your business. It allows your employees to have work/life balance and can help the economy, because they can pay their bills on time. By paying on time, they may have a little bit extra to go and spend to treat themselves! You have heard the slang, “happy employees means happy customers”.  It’s time to believe in that saying and truly understand what that really means. An employee is an asset to a business. The domino effect is a reality! Well-treated employees treat customers better, leading to the company prospering as a result of investing in their employees.

If employers view employees as a cost burden rather than an asset, i.e. a person providing skills and expertise to build the business, it may be time to start thinking with reality. Because without assets, the business can’t succeed.

I will leave you with this question…. And would encourage you to respond. Typically, employers hire employees because they get to a point where they can’t run a business without surrounding themselves with expertise they don’t have. Why do you, as the employer, hire employees?