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Hot Potato, Hot Potato And The Minimum Wage Debate

June 8th, 2017 | Posted by ATS in Economy | Minimum Wage | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software - (Comments Off on Hot Potato, Hot Potato And The Minimum Wage Debate)

The recent announcements of a $15.00 per hour minimum wage in several jurisdictions across North America have left those for jumping for joy and those against it seething. On radio talk shows and, in online forums the debate is like a hot potato. At this point, both sides feel so strongly about their position on the matter, it’s unlikely they will engage in a healthy debate about the subject.

The arguments for and against the wage increase is far reaching.  One of the many groups against the wage hike is The Oakville Chamber of Commerce based, based on feedback from its members, and writes the following;

Chamber members share the Government’s desire for broadly inclusive growth. However, in order to achieve this, we need to ensure that we are not risking job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship as a result of over-regulation.

The cost of all of these benefits will be borne by small business owners.  We believe the government has not yet fully understood the unintended consequences of these changes.   Chamber members have expressed their frustration and concern over rising costs and over regulation.

Higher costs for employers will inevitably lead to higher prices for consumers.  If the businesses cannot transfer these new costs to the consumer, employers will be looking to reduce overhead by cutting staff hours and possibly cutting the number of staff.  This will reduce the job opportunities available to youth and other low-skilled individuals who need employment.

Hot Potato, Hot Potato And The Minimum Wage Debate

While we understand the commendable intentions of these proposals, it is clear that the government can’t legislate prosperity.  Instead of creating more opportunity for workers, changes like these often have the opposite effect by reducing jobs and increasing the cost of living.”

Arguments in favour of the minimum wage hike:

In a recent interview, venture capitalist and critic of income inequality, Nick Hanauer did not mince words:

“The fundamental law of capitalism is that when workers have more money, businesses have more customers and need more workers… [There’s been] essentially 100 years of wealthy owners telling workers that if wages go up, employment will go down, but in fact it never happens.

The only thing that’s really true about the claim that when wages go up, employment goes down, is that if people like me can get people like your listeners to believe it’s true, it will work out really, really well for people like me. The truth is that this claim really isn’t a description of reality. It’s more of a scam or an intimidation tactic. It’s essentially a threat that powerful people use against not powerful people to scare them away from higher wages.”

Look back historically to the moments when wages went up and take a look at what happened in the past…What you will always find is that when wages go up, particularly when wages go up for everyone all at once, what you find is robust, economic growth.

You have to understand, from the point of view of an individual business owner, paying more wages is bad. Who wouldn’t want to pay their workers poverty wages and keep profits high? But the problem is, everybody can’t have that deal. If no one pays their workers good wages, then who will buy the stuff and who will pay the taxes? The people who are defending these low wages today, essentially are free riders. They’re parasites on the larger economy.”

We will give Don Lee the last word. In his article for the LA Times A new dawn for the minimum wage he writes;

“Community activists and politicians see a $15 minimum wage as the antidote to the ills of rising inequality, a way to reduce poverty and stimulate the overall economy. Business owners warn it will tie their hands in downturns, drive small employers out of business and lead to millions of layoffs.

The reality is not that simple: An increase to $15 an hour would ripple through the U.S. economy in some unexpected ways that are, generally, not as bad nor as beneficial as each side claims.”

Keep current with ATS:

In an era of increased work stress some have argued that for some companies, their balance sheet is more important than the well being of the people who help them achieve their profits. But, is it really possible to have a happy workforce and at the same time, have a healthy balance sheet? There are numerous companies who have attained both goals and for them it’s a no-brainer. One such company is called G Adventures and reading this story about them is like being on one of the rides at Disneyland.

The question remains why do some companies insist on making their workforce miserable while others understand the value in a happy workforce? In an article titled “Being Happy at Work Matters” written by Annie McKee, for Harvard Business Review, we extrapolated two paragraphs that lends powerful credence to importance of a happy workforce. It reads in part;

“Disengaged, unhappy people aren’t any fun to work with, don’t add much value, and impact our organizations (and our economy) in profoundly negative ways. It’s even worse when leaders are disengaged because they infect others with their attitude. Their emotions and mindset impact others’ moods and performance tremendously. After all, how we feel is linked to what and how we think. In other words, thought influences emotion, and emotion influences thinking.

It’s time to finally blow up the myth that feelings don’t matter at work. Science is on our side: there are clear neurological links between feelings, thoughts, and actions. When we are in the grip of strong negative emotions, it’s like having blinders on. We focus mostly — sometimes only — on the source of the pain. We don’t process information as well, think creatively, or make good decisions. Frustration, anger, and stress cause an important part of us to shut down —the thinking, engaged part. Disengagement is a natural neurological and psychological response to pervasive negative emotions.”

So with such solid science behind the importance of a happy workforce, are you one of the lucky employees who got hired by a great company? After all, not all companies espouse the virtues of having a wonderful workforce. And, the same can be said that not all employees are the best to work with either.

To learn more about ATS Workforce Management Solutions, go to our website and download a demonstration. You can also sign up for one of our monthly webinars and to reach an account executive, call: 1.866.294.2467.

Can A Happy Workforce And Healthy Balance Sheet Co-Exist?

Workforce Statistics And Job Recovery, What Recovery?

September 9th, 2014 | Posted by Apex Time Solutions in Labour Forecasting | Payroll | Time and Attendance Blog - (Comments Off on Workforce Statistics And Job Recovery, What Recovery?)

The latest job numbers from both the US and Canada paint a gloomy picture. Some experts contend that the reported numbers show how much catching up the economy has to do after the great recession. So, is there any end in sight to these gloomy numbers? Regarding payroll, in its most recent report the US department of labor states:

“Payroll employment increases in August (+142,000); unemployment rate changes little (6.1%) Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 142,000 in August, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.1 percent. Job gains occurred in professional and business services and in health care.”

And on productivity, it states in part, “Productivity increased 2.3 percent in the nonfarm business sector in the second quarter of 2014; unit labor costs decreased 0.1 percent (seasonally adjusted annual rates). In manufacturing, productivity increased 3.3 percent and unit labor costs decreased 1.6 percent.”

Are these the type of numbers we can expect to see in the upcoming months or is this just an anomaly? Some experts suggest that the job reports are inaccurate, and that statisticians, are not using the right forecasting tools hence, the numbers do not equate to the true unemployment figures.

One thing’s for sure with employment at an all time high for recent graduates and many older workers, let’s all hope we do not slip back into a recession anytime soon.


Workforce Statistics And Job Recovery, What Recovery?