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Minimum Wage Pros and Cons

Minimum Wage Pros and Cons

The minimum wage in Illinois is set to be $15 an hour by 2025. These increases involve some complex economic and social issues. Many workers and bosses are confused about the effect a minimum wage increase has. They are not sure whether they should be in favor of it or opposed it.

A good Chicago employment discrimination attorney clears up the confusion in areas like these. An attorney not only fights for you. An attorney also explains why your position is right, so you feel better about the entire process.

Why We Should Raise the Minimum Wage

Once upon a time, almost all minimum wage workers were teenagers or young adults who lived at home. A single-digit hourly wage is usually plenty for these individuals. Today, a growing number of minimum wage workers, such as food service employees, live independently. Many also have at least one dependent. These people have more responsibilities and therefore need higher wages.

There is also the idea of “a rising tide raises all ships.” In other words, if entry-level workers make more money, everyone else’s compensation goes up commensurately, so everyone remains on the same level. Considerable statistical evidence backs up these claims. So, to advocates, increasing the minimum wage does not just feel right. It is right.

Why We Should Not Raise the Minimum Wage

There is also evidence on the other side. Typically, these individuals focus on the practical effects of a wage increase, as opposed to the theoretical effects.

Assume Sanjay owns a donut shop. Most mornings, it is quite busy from 6 to 8, somewhat busy from 8 to 10, and nearly deserved from 10 to 12. Rick, who earns the minimum wage, works for Sanjay. Rick’s duties include things like running the register, making coffee, and straightening tables.

If lawmakers increase the minimum wage, Rick probably expects to see more money in his paycheck. However, rather than pay the increase, Sanjay could send Rick home when business slows down. If his hours are cut drastically, the minimum wage increase could hurt Rick economically instead of help him.

As mentioned, many minimum wage workers in Chicagoland are food service workers. So, this scenario is played out in cafes, donut shops, and restaurants all over Illinois.

Classification Issues

There is another issue involved here, as well. Some workers do everything that entry-level employees normally do, but the boss classifies them as “interns.” Therefore, they earn little or nothing.

The primary benefits test often separates interns from workers. If the worker is the primary beneficiary, that worker is probably an intern. Interns do things like sit in on meetings and learn some things about the business. If the employer is the primary beneficiary because the worker mostly makes copies and files documents, the worker is probably an employee.

Of course, there is some overlap, but in most cases, it is relatively easy to determine the difference between employees and interns.

These claims often morph into class action lawsuits. Certain industries, such as filmmaking and fashion, are especially notorious for ignoring the rules in these situations. So, where there are two or three victims, there were probably hundreds more who endured similar mistreatment.

Connect With a Hard-Working Lawyer

Minimum wage increases are complex affairs. An experienced Chicago employment lawyer can help you ensure your rights are protected. The Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline is here to help. Contact us today. 

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