6% Minimum Wage Hike

Oregon’s minimum wage is going up 45-cents an hour as of tomorrow. This is a huge punch in the gut for service-industry employers in a time when the economy is struggling, and when restaurants are closing faster than new ones are opening.

In talking with other small-business owners in Baker City, Bend, and Portland, I’ve heard that most are going to shave a few payroll hours off each day, send people home early, or even lay-off employees.

So, instead of the minimum-wage hike putting more money into workers’ pockets, it’s going to have them working less hours and making the same amount of money on each paycheck… which in turn means that the employer will end up working those shaved hours.

Lyle, the owner of Jake’s Diner in Bend, has an interesting post on this as well.

We currently pay everyone at Paizano’s over minimum wage.  After an employee works their first 30-days, we do a review, and if they have shown right away to be a go-getter they get a raise. It’s very difficult to find good help (at the risk of sounding cliche) and I feel that if you pay people what their personal work is valued at, you’ll keep long-term employees. On the other hand, if you have a so-so employee and they never get a raise, they’ll move on to a different minimum-wage job soon enough.

In other words, our excellent dishwasher needs to make more per hour than a dishwasher at McDonald’s. Our super-fast and accurate Cook needs to make more than a Cook down the street.

So how does this minimum-wage increase affect us?

For those employees that are already hovering around the new wage of $8.40, they’ll have their next review and receive a pay-raise based on performance.

Their friends who work elsewhere and do shoddy jobs, call in sick often, and show up late will be getting a government-mandated raise regardless of their work ethic. It only seems fair that our employees who do a phenomenal job receive a bump in pay as well.

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