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  • Writer's picturePure Speculation

Entry Level Pay. Entry Level Hours.

Not all jobs can sustain a living wage...and those jobs should not be full time positions.

Right now during these questionable times, the spotlight is on the working class. As we enter the beginning stages of the 2020 recession and those working 60+ hours every week are still struggling to make ends meet, the conversation on the minimum wage in our Country is sure to become the focus for many who are looking for a path out of the Struggle State.

Many will argue that minimum wage jobs are not meant to sustain a living wage. These were designed to be entry level positions for teenagers or adults looking for some supplemental income to help the family save for a family vacation or to make some home improvements. And I would agree with that sentiment. No one should be expecting to survive on the $9.45/hour that Michigan offers as its minimum wage.

At the same time, when you think of entry level positions as I’ve described for these individuals, the position was also never designed to be full time. Jobs like these were designed to fill time after school for kids who wanted to save for their first car. Jobs like these were designed for Mom to work after dropping off the kids at school to fill up the day. In recent years that list has grown to include Dad as the role of the breadwinner has become non-gender specific. Normally you wouldn’t be expected to work these positions more than 24 hours a week because you had many other responsibilities and spending any more time than that would simply spread yourself too thin.

When Entry Level Turns Into a Career

Today that has changed. The entry level job has become a necessity and essentially transitioned into a career for those who feel as though they have no other choice if they want to continue to put food on the table. Employers have taken advantage of this notion and continue to pay low wages for full time jobs. Even making overtime pay on a minimum wage job only equates to just shy of $14.00 per hour. No one should be working 60 hours a week just to make $658.00. That’s a salary of less than $35,000.00 while putting in over 3,000 hours. You can’t keep that pace up and even if you could, you’ll never be able to get ahead. Ever.

So what’s the solution? Well...if we’re going to make an argument that a company has a position that can be labeled as entry level or “part time” then it should come with a designated minimum wage. In turn, a position exceeding 24 hours per week should come with it’s own designated “essential” minimum wage. Jobs that employers are utilizing at more than 24 hours per week would no longer be entry level because they would be deemed “essential” to operating the business. These tiers would ensure that no one is working day in and day out for what equates to basically peanuts.

Not All Businesses Are Created Equal

In my business, I know I have jobs that are necessary for us to be successful. While important jobs, they don’t justify big pay. As law makers seek to increase the minimum wage it will create a situation for us that will lead us to have to eliminate these positions for those who do only want to work a few days a week because at $15.00/hour, I’ll fold my own t-shirts because I simply can’t pass that cost along to my customers. Their rhetoric becomes if a company can’t pay a living wage then they shouldn’t be in business. This is one of the most ignorant arguments known to man and reflects how out of touch they are with the economy on a micro level.

For large companies like Amazon or Wal Mart, an extra $2.00-$3.00 per hour towards minimum wage is a drop in the bucket. But for Main Street and Mom & Pop operations, it will destroy our ability to grow and be efficient. Unless we get creative and look into a tiered system based on hours worked we will be destined to be at the mercy of those who protest for a living wage without understanding the economic impact it has on the small business. Lets keep this conversation going because the solution is there. We’re just being pulled further apart by the powers that be that want to pit employer vs employee while the large corporations hide behind their boxes with the smiley face on them...let’s turn that box upside down.

Stay with for more information as we navigate through the ever changing economic landscape.

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