Employees in Michigan will have to wait a little longer for a higher minimum wage and will get fewer sick days as a result of legislation recently passed.
Michigan state senators decided to adopt the measures in September, which would then allow legislation to make future changes to the bill with just a majority of the vote instead of two-thirds. The minimum wage law would have raised the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2022, but the now-approved changes have slowed the increase to $12 per hour by 2030, an additional eight years.
“It’s smarter to do it over a longer period of time. That way it will have less of an impact on companies,” Ferris nursing freshman Trinity Palasek said. “The place that I work at is really struggling right now with keeping up with their finances and everything, so they’re cutting people’s hours. If we increase the minimum wage, that’s just more money that they’re losing and more hours that they have to cut.”
In addition, changes to the bill reduced the proposed amount of paid sick time an employee can acquire. Employees now acquire one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked, instead of the previous one hour earned for every 30 worked.
“I think it’s kind of ridiculous, but I also think that minimum wage is just a way of starting a job and starting a position,” Ferris hospitality management junior Rebekah Pioch said. “It’s a good way to start out a beginning job. But if you want to earn a higher wage, then you need to earn a degree and shoot for that higher wage.”
Ferris economics professor Alexander Cartwright said that minimum wage causes unemployment, and a higher minimum wage will increase unemployment.
“Economists often say ‘There is no free lunch.’ Whenever you choose to do one thing, you give up the opportunity to do another. If we choose to raise the minimum wage, this comes with a cost: higher unemployment, fewer jobs and a less competitive economy,” Cartwright said. “Are those costs worth the benefits? Michigan citizens will need to decide that, but I think we would be better off if we focused our energy on other policies that would both help our workers and economy.”
Both bills adopted by the Senate on Wednesday need to be approved by the House and signed by Governor Rick Snyder to become law.