With a few exceptions in specific cases, employers will be required to pay their minimum wage workers 10 dollars an hour, benefitting workers, but putting strain on businesses
California’s minimum wage rose from $9 an hour to $10 on Jan. 1 becoming the second highest national rate with the exception of the District of Columbia.
The National Conference of State Legislatures states both adults and minors will receive the minimum wage, with some exception. Outside salespersons, individuals who are the parent, spouse or child of the employer and apprentices regularly indentured under the State Division of Apprenticeship Standards are not guaranteed by law to receive the wage increase.
According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, if an employer fails to pay a worker who qualifies for the new minimum wage, the employee is able to file a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or file a lawsuit against the employer.
I.V. Blenders supervisor Ian Plascencia and first-year civil engineering major said I.V. businesses will not account for raised minimum wage by raising menu prices.
“Everything should stay the same,” Plascencia said.
Blenders employee and second-year biopsychology major Sarah Offman said she was pleased to hear about the increased pay and said it would not affect hiring.
“It’s definitely better than it was before,” Offman said. “I think it helps … I don’t think they’d stop hiring anyone.”
Manager of I.V. Super Cucas Jenaro Rios said the increase in minimum wage is good for employees, but places strains on businesses, especially restaurants.
“It’s good for the workers,” Rios said. “But for us, it’s a little bit hard because prices for produce have gone up and we pay a lot of rent, and we can’t hike the prices up every time.”
Because businesses in I.V. rely on students, it is hard to compensate for the decreased profits when school is not in session, according to Rios.
“Especially here in I.V., it’s getting tough for businesses,” Rios said. “There’s competition here, so it’s getting difficult.”
When talking to the restaurant’s bookkeepers, Rios said he found the business had to make changes to sustain profits with other rising costs.
“There are two things you can do,” Rios said. “You can raise your prices or try to cut employees, but it’s hard, because in I.V. business goes up and down.”
Owner of I.V. Sam’s To Go Mehrdad Homayouni also agrees that I.V. businesses face a strain, as business is seasonal.
“At times, you don’t have business for almost three weeks and then around Thanksgiving you don’t have business for about a week,” Homayouni said. “But we don’t cut hours … or raise our prices.”
Homayouni said he does understand that some businesses have to take measures to account for the hike in wages.
“At a lot of places, they have to [raise prices] because they are over heading so much,” Homayouni said.
A version of this story appeared on page 7 of the Thursday, January 7, 2015 print edition of the Daily Nexus.