More than 60 million people in U.S. households depend on the earnings of a low-wage worker, according to a new report released on Tuesday.
The research shows that most low-wage workers are frequently the primary breadwinners in their families and they are not, as commonly thought, teenagers with few skills still living with their parents, according to the report by Oxfam America and the Economic Policy Institute.
Is it not sad when families have to depend on minimum wage to pay their bills? That they rejoice because their wages can go no lower – it’s the law.
It used to be that our minimum wage earners were your stereotypical pimply teenager who worked at a fast-food place, or some other retail job. But with how our economy has been, more and more adults, and families are relying on minimum wage. Almost 40 per cent of minimum-wage workers are 25 or older.
Ontario’s minimum wage is $11 an hour. Imagine working 40 hours on that, and having to feed two kids.
So what is the alternative then, if minimum wage is failing us as a society?
- Some would suggest an earned income tax credit.
- Others suggest a basic income for every Canadian.
- And even more suggest a negative income tax.
I think employers also have a duty, where possible, to pay their employees a fair wage. What is a fair wage? Depends on both the job, and how long the employee has been there. If someone is still making minimum wage after 5 years, something is seriously wrong. Employers can pay a livable wage, and still make a tidy profit.