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Minimum Wage?

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41. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 9y

I agree 210% with Isa. In the working world, it's up to YOU to know what you're worth, what the position is worth, what the industry is paying in your area, what a reasonable pay raise is, and when to ask for more. Sometimes gettng a raise means switching jobs - and THAT'S all up to the individual, too. I want nothing to do with knowing my coworkers' salaries, and I don't want them ever knowing mine. If they were suckers enough to ask for too little, it's their busienss. If I was sucker enough to aim too low, that's mine.

This whole everyone-should-be-treated-equal love-in appeals to people's basic instinct to sit back and be lazy. Sorry. If I was an employer, I'd dangle the carrot and make people earn it. There's no such thing as a free ride.

42. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 9y

There are plenty of ways to find out what is fair pay for a job (for instance the range for my job is published on the engineering society's website, and there's arguments for and against doing this). Any raise one receives above grade you should probably keep it secret. Otherwise it might just get taken away from you next year, "to be fair to other collegues". The minium wage isn't a free lunch. I would question the morality of anyone trying to use it as such.

Going back to the original posts. All these numbers are great, but I have no idea whether you can actually live on those figures. Judging the cost of living is MUCH more difficult than finding out the minimum wage. If I had to do it, I'd work for minimum wage in the UK then move to Vietnam and live like a King!! Regional cost of living complicates things even more. For instance in Calgary, Canada and London, UK, the cost of living is several times higher than the rest of the country.

43. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 9y

Quoting Q'

The minium wage isn't a free lunch. I would question the morality of anyone trying to use it as such.

Just to clarify - minumum wage is definitely no free lunch. It's in place to ensure companies pay their employees at least enough to live by, even though it won't get you any extravagances. It's a necessity to preserve workers' rights.

What's not a free lunch is getting a raise, perks, etc., without earning them. I'm talking about non-mimimum wage jobs here - jobs you have a lengthy interview process to go through, where raises and promotions are based on merit.

44. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 9y

Quoting tway

Quoting Q'

The minium wage isn't a free lunch. I would question the morality of anyone trying to use it as such.

Just to clarify - minumum wage is definitely no free lunch. It's in place to ensure companies pay their employees at least enough to live by, even though it won't get you any extravagances. It's a necessity to preserve workers' rights.

I just found an interesting article concerning the "official" poverty statistics reported for the US. (Yes, it does have to do with the minimum wage discussion.) The poverty threshold for an individual is $10,000 and $20,000 for a family of four. Using the federal minimum wage of $5.85/hour (40 hour week - 52 weeks as most minimum wager earners do not receive vacation time), the individual worker will be $2,168 over the poverty line. That will maybe afford them transportation costs, an apartment, food, etc depending on their location. Good luck in New York City. Given the same calculations for a family of four which consists of a single mother and three young children, they are already $7,832 in the hole. Minimum wage does afford certain groups a yearly wage that will sustain them while it is woefully inadequate for others.

Certain industries in the US are not required to follow the minimum wage regulations - one of them being the food service industry. Restaurants and bars are allowed to pay below minimum wage because their workers are compensated through the gratuities paid by the partons they service. The other back door way of avoiding minimum wage is to hire someone as a permanent part-time employee. Minimum wage does not cover all part-time employment. As long as the employee works less than 35 hours a week paying minimum wage is left to the discretion of the employer.

I realize we have two different topics going on in one thread, but I'm going to comment on the second topic also - the non-minimum wage one. After working in the private sector for several years, I accepted a university job which was paid for with government funds (hard money) rather than funded through grants, etc. (soft money). I worked for the State of Illinois. It was nice in the fact that I had a certain amount of job security (it's designed so no one is ever fired) but it was also detrimental to earning pay raises based on work performance. The system is designed to include yearly cost of living raises. Knowing this, 99% of the department heads were unwilling to give their "state" employees raises based on merit because the employee would be given a raise by the state regardless of their performance. Since merit raises would be required to come from the department's grant money, department heads saved that for their "soft money" employees and those increases were always 2-5% greater than what the state offered. Because of this inequity, many of the state workers progressed along, year after year, doing the minimum requirements of the job. The philosophy - why give more than absolutely required when you won't be compensated for it anyway. As a supervisor, it irritated the hell out of me, but change was not to be forecoming. Everyone knew what everyone else was making so no one made an effort to perform.

45. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Quoting mikeyBoab

Yes, you're correct, in theory this could happen, but I don't think it would - for one thing, employment law here makes it virtually impossible for an employer to just fire someone because the work wil be done more cheaply by a kid. Yes, there would be ways around it - but who would want to work for such an employer?

Yes, it can happen "in theory".
And yes there are ways around it, and that is the danger.
And yes, nobody would want to work for such an employer, if they can find a better one. It is only when it is an employees market, that one can afford to pick and choose who one works for.

46. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Quoting lagered

Quoting Mel

In most of the jobs I have had, what each employee earned was not common knowledge, in the company.
After receiving a pay rise, at one of my jobs, I was told to keep it secret. This secrecty makes it difficult for others to gage their worth and easier for employers to be unfair.

It is not anyone's business what their fellow workers make.

No two employees contribute exactly the same effort and/or time resulting in an exact net benefit to a company. Therefore they shouldn’t be paid exactly the same and that detail of their payment is not information that others need to have. Go around telling people what you make and see how long it takes them to either hate you or laugh at you.

Everyone has a perceived value that is either satisfied or not, the fact of the matter is sharing personal financial benefits will only increase jealousy in the workplace as well as increasing the likelihood of disseminating a core team of quality employees. Any employer willing to share your financial information with your co-workers is ethically questionable at best.

Time for a true story.
I got a job, with a well know computer company, when I was on the verge of finishing my 2 year course in Information Technology. Before that course I had gained a City and Guilds qualification in Information technology. I took the job, when it was offered, even though I was over qualified for that particular job. It was my second job, in the computer industry. I already had one years experience, with another computer company. When I got offered the first job, I started going to night classes, instead of day, because I had not yet completed my course.
There were work place statistics, and the results of our work was displayed on a wall. I was continuously the highest performer, and my boss regularly received pleased notes about me from customers, including one VIP.
It was my second year, with that company, when me and some of my colleagues were on the late shift. Around 10 of us, out of the 30 who were doing the same job as I was. We were supposed to keep our wages secret, but we decided to tell anyway. I and 2 others were earning the lowest wages of the group. The others were earning 2 to 4 thousand per annum more.
A few months later my boss said it is time for my 6 monthly review and gave me a list of topics which would be discussed at it. I told her, that I would like to all a discussion about my wages, because people doing my job are getting payed more by companies these days.
At the review, I received a 40% pay raise, instead of the 5% max that all employees got every 6 months. I was told to keep this secret, from the others. I asked if I am now getting the highest wage in my section, because I should, when I have the highest and most satisfactory performance. She said I was. I did some more asking around, and discovered that there were still 2 out of the 30 in my section earning a thousand more than me, per year. Neither had been working longer for this company, than I had.
I hope u are starting to see, that it is the business of employees to know what everybody else is getting payed. Otherwise there is a situation where unfairness and/or discrimination may occurr. Managers in companies have a budget. They will economise with any employee who allows it.

[ Edit: Fixed quote ]

47. Posted by lagered (Budding Member 230 posts) 9y

I consider it unethical to discuss wages with another employee for this exact reason.

If you cannot figure out what your worth and fight for it, you are simply using the child based argument "look at what little Billy has." At that point are you getting what you should be paid for your services or are you forcing the employer into a situation that may have arisen because 'little Billy' was actually a constant performer for experience that deserved this heightened level of pay?

There are many factors why two people get paid varying amounts for the same job. In your example, you were at the bottom of the pay scale but maybe those who were making more than you were benefiting the company in a way differently than you. You make it very cut and dry that in a specific set of tasks you were the best. While that may be true, the people who were getting paid more may have been there longer, come in with more experience or had additional duties. Maybe this says something about your initial negotiation skills coming into this job. It sounds like your skills grew over time and I commend you for that.

Remember what I said about creating bad feelings between employees? Sounds like you received some first hand experience in this matter. If I am your employer I would have denied your request just on principal. Not because I have anything against you but because of the way you approached the situation. If you would have shown me that you had been of a maximum benefit to me and put numbers to it, I would certainly pay you more than what you had been making. If I set up maximum pay raise scale, I'm hoping that my employees go above and beyond because I'd look like the hero when they do better. In all reality they are benefiting much more than the pay raise would indicate.

Moral of the story - no one makes what they think they are worth. I stick to my original statement that no two employees put in the same effort/time and generate the exact net revenue (benefit). Therefore, these two people are not worth the same in a financial sense.

48. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Quoting Isadora

Raises and compensation are based on the behavior and work each employee does individually. They earn that increase on their own merit

They can also be based on age, sex, race, religion....
If wages are secret, how can this be monitored? Doesnt a person have a right to know, if they are being treated fairly, in comparison with other employees, in the company? And if the company is being fair, then surely they would have nothing to hide, so wages should not be something to be kept secret?

I worked on the US army base in Heidelburg, Germany, where everybodies wages were known. Everybody who did the same job got payed the same. Except for one situation.
European Union nationals got payed more than American nationals doing the same job. I dont know exactly why, but something to do with a law in Germany.
But I think it was a good thing, that we could all see that there was no age, sex, race.... discrimination. Not where earning for doing the same job was concerned, anyway.

[ Edit: Edited on Aug 7, 2007, at 2:18 PM by Mel. ]

49. Posted by lagered (Budding Member 230 posts) 9y

I want to make certain that I make this point. It is NOT the business of the employees what each other makes.

Like Pay, Life is not fair. This is something we all have to deal with. This is why Marxism could never work. Each person does not benefit the company or the whole in the same way nor does he feel like his work is the least important. Therefore, a system based on equality has not and never will work.

(A whole system - not a union - obviously those work)

[ Edit: Edited on Aug 7, 2007, at 2:27 PM by lagered ]

50. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 9y

It's a matter of caveat emptor - or employee emptor, I suppose.