Minimum Wage

The current discussion of Minimum Wage is directed towards the concept of livable wages, but in truth, minimum  wage has nothing to do with livable wages, never has.  Minimum wage has always been a compromise between the value of the labor provided by the employee and zero compensation.  One must remember that the original job structure was that of an apprentice and there was no wage, just a period of training to make the person capable of performing the required serives for enough money to live and develop the skills to achieve the maximum compensation for services.  What most people fail to grasp is that if an employee is being paid minimum wage then they have not exhibnited a clear understanding of their position within the organization and have not determined how to use their skills and experience to contribute to the overall success of the business.

The best possible example that can be given for this issue is when a person went into a fast food establishment to order a meal.  The person approached the counter and was asked, in poor grammar, what they wanted to order.  The person began to indicate the desired items but was subjected to a discussion of the low wages and how the employee had worked in the establishment for three years, all described in poor grammar.  Once the order was placed, the person paid and the change was wrong and required correction and, eventually, got the order but it was also incorrect.  The question that needs to be asked here is who failed - the employer for provding poor training or the employee for failing to grasp the basic concepts offered in the training?

In this example, we have an employee that is paid minimum wage because that is required, but the employee clearly was not providing labor to compensate the employer for the wages.  To start with, socialists and liberals fail to grasp that an employer is not obligated to provide a job to an employee, but once hired, he is often obligated to maintain the relationship no matter how poor the employee performs and this is due to the potential impact on the employer's unemployment insurance rates if the employee is terminated.  

 

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

When an employee is hired, the employee has the responsibility to provide labor which benefits the employer by completing tasks that the employer has deemed warranted.  An employee at minimm wage is starting at the bottom and should look forward to the growth in the organization but some employees never seem to move from the bottom because their work is lacking and their personal responsibility is non-existent. 

As an economic environment, all employers are obligated to provide training to an employee to aid the employee in personal growth, some employers fail at this task and others excel but the true test is the employee.  If an employee makes an effort to learn, perform taks properly and take on new functions then the employer will reward the employee with advancement.  If an employee fails to make the effort then the employer has a duty to the employee to terminate the employment so the employee can find a new direction and another employer that can recognize his untapped skills.  One of the obligations of government in this situation is not increasing the compensation for poor performance, but instead to identify the lacking employees and provide training and guidance.

This is one area where the government is lacking.  Many liberal governments push for increasing the minimum wages for the employee but there is no effort to increase the productivity of the employee through training and incentives.  As we have learned through the liberal programs in introductory school sports, a particiaption trophy is intended to increase the individual's self esteem and provide the means to self improvement.  In order to maximize the benefit of this concept, the law should be changed so that any employee stll being paid minimum wage can be terminated without impact to the unemployment compensation statistics, or minimum wage employees terminated should not be eligible for unemployment insurance but will be pushed to the top of the que for assessment and training.  The part of the program that is missed is the simple truth that the problem may a worthless employee and additional compensation will not resolve poor productiivty, it simply enforces the attitude of a poor employee that actual work is not required to receive a paycheck.

 

MINIMUM WAGE LABOR VALUE

Whenever someone talks about the minimum wage not being a living wage, the one point that they never bring up is the economic value of that labor.  In every situation, labor is purchased from the employee for the benefit of the employer to complete specific tasks that the employer deems most important.  The fact is that most minimum wage people, especially those empoyees that have been paid minimum wage for more than six months, do not perform work or provide labor that has a value greater than the offsetting compensation.  

In capitalism, everyting is a trade, value for value except in the discussion of minmum wage where it is likely that the compensation paid for the labor is worth more than the labor provided.  This is due to several factors with the highest being a lack of experience and training to perform functions which are greater than clean up and, often, these employees offer no labor of any value because they spend thier time watching and, hopefully, learning.  Every employer knows that the cost of replacing an employee is greater than the cost of keeping the employee at minimum wage.  An employee at this level is often only terminated when the mistakes become costly or the mistakes require an excessive effort to correct.

The worst part is that an employee should exit the public education system with certain capabilities and when those capabilities are not evident, the problemn is not the employer but the education system.  Every new employee is expected to have specific capabilities: the ability to write, the ability to enter information into a keyboard, the ability to read accurately, basic math skills including the ability to count change.  Have you ever received five dimes and a nickel for $0.55 in change, the number of people that cannot count change is staggering!

As an employee, it is easy to see the number of unskilled people that are looking for work and that the employer needs a reason to keep a specific employee other than the fact that the employee is full of himself, very simply, your ego is not more important than the work on the job if the employer asks that it be done.

From a business perspective, it is easy to understand the difference between profit and loss. The fact is that a loss situation will cause all jobs to be eliminated as the business shuts down.  When the government steps in and changes the compensation structure for a business, it will likely cause the business to experience losses and encourage the owner to eliminate the least productive employees.  A simple fact is that the profit of the business is more important to the owner than the jobs or whether an employee can live off the low wages because the employee is unskilled.  An unskilled worker is a social problem not a business problem unless the government is compensating a business to provide training.

Before increasing the minimum wage structure, the only question the government should be asking is whehter the labor provided has the value to the company to offset the cost.  If not then the government is encouraging employers to eliminate minimum wage jobs, the very jobs that provide the entrance to the working world and the initial levels of training.  The best answer for all is that the liberals pushing for increases in the minimum wage should be provided funds to assess and train employees that have failed in the market.  In other words, the people claiming these employees are worth more need to prove that these employees can be proven to be productive. 

 

MINIMUM WAGE GROWTH

The best outcome of a new employee at any organization is the quick increase above the minimum wage level due to the accompishments of the employee.  This is valuable because it shows that the employee is interested in the long term goal of growing in organizations and providing value for the compensation provided.  Every employer understands the cost of hiring another new employee and going through the same training process so, if possible, an employer would rather give someone an increase in compensation instead of losing the employee to a competitor and starting the training over again.

Most new employees fail in one major undertaking, they fail to work with the employer and get their input as to problems, suggestions and positive feedback.  The smartest growth pattern for a new employee is to do every job, asking the needed questions then do the work, do it well and be ready to do it again when needed.  Does the employee know why a task is needed?  As silly as it sounds, if something needs to be done and there is spare time, an employer notices when the employee is making a positive contribution as compared to standing around.

 

NO OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE JOBS

Anyone that talks for increasing the minimum wage for workers fails to grasp the basic underlying fact: No Employer Has An Obligation to Provide Jobs, they do so to make the organization run smoothly.  The problem that many employers have is the employee that refuses to follow direction, thinking that there is an easier way, a way that requires less work.  Most employers define the jobs that need to be done based on the needs of the business and these boring tasks need to be done, meanwhile, the employer has determined that these tasks need to be done in a specific way to make sure that the all parts of the task are completed.  Ever notice that these smarter, shortcut employees never ask WHY a task needs to be done in this manner?

The employer has a responsibility to the organization to generate the greatest profit levels based on the revenue generated while insuring that the employees are provided for and satisfied.  This is a difficult compromise.  Some businesses provide perks while others may provide minor bonuses.  Both increase the level of satisfaction of the employee with the job.

However, the bottom line is that every employer would prefer not to deal with employees that make the tasks more difficult and there are some employees that want to work within the constraints provided by the employer.  The problem is always those people that think they have an entitlement to the job.

 

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Every consideration of minimum wage should consider whether it is the responsibility of the business to provide compensation at a level higher than the labor has value.  If the labor value is lower than the cost of compensation then society has failed to provide the needed training for these employees or society must take responsibility for those employees that have no increase in value over the long term.

Simply increasing minimum wage is never the answer because of the damage that will happen to the compensation structure for all employees over the short term.  In addition, increasing the minimum wage without providing additional training for those employees that cannot compete in the labor market simply increases cost to society without an offset in value generated.

One of the primary failings of the social structure is the lack of a training program.  If an employee receives consistent negative reviews from an employer, there should be programs for the employee to participate in that will aid in increasing the productivity of the employee.  These programs would offer the ability to determine if the problem is the employer training or the employee abaility to learn.  Bottom line: if an employee fails to praticipate in the in training programs then the employee should not be offered any incentives because there is a need for effort on the part of the employee.