View Mobile Site

$2 an hour pay raise: Some like it, some don’t

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED September 17, 2013 11:17 p.m.

Veronica Mendoza always wanted to make $10-an-hour.

She had thought about going in and asking her boss around Thanksgiving for a raise just in time for the Christmas season so she could shower her young son with an abundance of gifts. It wouldn’t have amounted to a financial windfall by any stretch, and she still would have struggled to make ends meet. But it would have been a start.

Now she doesn’t have to worry about working up the nerve.

Last week a bill cleared the California Legislature that will raise the state’s minimum wage up to the highest level in the nation – giving those who rely on a time clock a $2-an-hour bump by 2016 via a pair of $1 increments.

How much that will correspond to at the end of an 80-hour pay-period is something that she hasn’t yet calculated. For one, Mendoza gets a portion of her money taken out pre-tax for a savings plan, even though it’s not much. She hopes that the money she’s putting away will help her pay for school, even though that’s a few years off.

Still, the bump is a welcome change.

“Any little bit helps. It’s kind of funny because that was the exact number that I was going to ask for,” she said. “I’m happy with that. It’ll take a little while before it happens, I heard. Maybe I’ll ask for it early. But I think that it’ll help a lot of people.”

The Federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25-an-hour. Four years have passed since it was last raised. Workers who rely on tips for a large portion of their income, like bartenders or wait staff, can actually make less than that. However, min California it is illegal to pay anyone less than the state minimum wage including servers.

But for local small-business owners like Jeff Liotard, if he knew that the money that’ll be paid out to workers truly ended up wholly going to workers, it would make things a lot easier for him to prepare for the pending changes.

In Liotard’s eyes, the California Legislature is simply going to pull a “double dip” move when the increase goes into effect. He expects they will take more money out of the paychecks of workers and then hit employers with payroll taxes simply because they have things that they need to pay for in Sacramento.

“When I got done explaining what was going to happen with a few of my employees, they were pissed,” Liotard said. “They would rather not have the increase and be able to keep what they make than be told that they’re going to get something that isn’t really there.

“Whenever our legislature decides that they want something then they raise the minimum wage, and I’m afraid that it’s only going to get worse for the workers when healthcare taxes kick in. The cost of everything is going up – it’s costing us more money to make a pizza today, food is costing more – and this is only going to make that worse.”

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...