Essentially Fair?

By Margaret Jungels

If we’ve learned anything the past few months, it’s that many of our lowest-paid workers are essential to keeping not only the overall economy, but also our individual households running. We rely on grocery store clerks, delivery drivers, caregivers, and cleaners in stores, hospitals, and nursing homes to keep our families fed and safe. And yet, in many states, these essential workers are paid at rates so low they could work full-time and still qualify for SNAP benefits. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and hasn’t increased since 2009. In our gut, most of us understand that the minimum wage should be increased for reasons of fairness.  

But there are reasons beyond fairness to increase the pay of these essential workers. A review of nursing home data shows that higher minimum wages lead to better quality of care, and even reduced mortality rates. “It appears that with better pay, jobs in nursing homes became more attractive, so employee turnover decreased. Patients benefited from more continuity in their care.” Studies also indicate that, across industries, employee performance improves as wages rise. Increased quality, reduced turnover, and better performance? So, it seems that not only is increasing low wages the fair thing to do, it’s the right business decision as well.  Read More Here  

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