Employers Prepare for Minimum Wage Increase - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

07/17/07 - Nacogdoches

Employers Prepare for Minimum Wage Increase

by Donna McCollum

Texas Workforce Solutions is providing last minute reminders to employers. For a week Kristy Castle-Royal has been visiting Nacogdoches businesses with employee rights posters. She starts the visit saying,  " I'm here today to tell you about the minimum wage increase that's taking place on July 24th."

The wage increase comes as no surprise. Neither do the reactions.   Royal said,  " Some gripe about it, but I haven't had that big of a shocker because they were aware. " Other employers support the increase, even though it won't affect them directly. A glass company manager, Rachel Upchurch said,  " We're gonna have business as usual as far as minimum wage because we pay well over minimum wage. Of course, we don't expect minimum work, so we don't pay minimum wage. "

Minimum wage workers may not like that generalization. The raise builds morale for Susan Floyd, a waitress at Mr. Wills Restaurant.     In between waiting tables she said, " Just helps knowing you make a little bit more when you work. Makes you want to work harder. " Paula Hicks, a single mom of three has also held down minimum wage jobs. " You know with minimum wage you got to work every hour you can work. You stay at work. You don't get to spend enough time with your kids. "

The minimum wage increases are designed to help the workforce catch up with a cost of living that rose 26% percent since the last minimum wage increase a decade ago.  Next year the hourly minimum wage will go to $6.55. Consumers may not notice the change in the minimum wage increases for another three years. That's when it goes up to $7.25. But Texas Workforce Solutions site manager Melony Brown is expecting some layoffs now. She's concerned some employers may be reluctant to meet the requirements.  " Right now we're anticipating that some of the business that can absorb that expense will have fewer staff to serve the customers that are coming into their business, "  said Brown.

Restaurant owner Will Rollins employees about ten minimum wage workers. He  disagrees with the idea of laying off or not replacing workers.      " That argument doesn't fly. What good business people are gonna do is pass that cost onto the consumer and go and reward their employees, " said Rollins.   Something Rollins has already done.   He said,  " The cost of a hamburger went up Monday. We raised the price on a lot of things. " And Rollins isn't worried about running off customers. He knows everything is going up in price right along with the minimum wage.  

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