From major businesses like McDonald’s and Target to major cities like New York and Los Angeles, the past two years have seen several minimum wage increases. At the start of the New Year, 14 states implemented higher pay, and many states are expected to follow within the next year or two.
Advocates for higher wages are pushing for states to approve increases up to $15 an hour, with the current federal minimum at $7.25 an hour. A well-known advocacy group, Businesses for a Fair Minimum Wage, argues, “Raising the minimum wage makes good business sense. Workers are also customers. Minimum wage increases boost sales at local businesses as workers buy goods and services they could not afford before. And nothing drives job creation more than consumer demand.”
Tennessee is one of the five states that has not adopted its own minimum wage. As of 2014, Tennessee was the state with the highest percentage of workers on minimum wage at 7.4%—about 117,000 people.
Those opposed to the increases argue that in the end raising the minimum wage may hurt workers and business owners. The National Federation of Independent Business published an article stating, “Following minimum wage hikes that kicked off with 2016’s start, Chicago, Oakland and San Francisco have sunk to five-year employment lows in the leisure and hospitality fields. And in Seattle, the loss of 1,000 restaurant jobs followed the state’s minimum wage increase, according to federal data.”
Whether or not these increases will ultimately hurt or help the economy and job market is yet to be determined. But one thing is certain: this issue will continue to be one of the most heavily debated during the 2016 election.
To find out more about legislation affecting Tennessee workers, browse the workers’ compensation articles on our blog. If you feel like you have not been fairly compensated for a work injury, contact one of our skilled workers’ compensation attorneys today.