What A Minimum Wage Hike Could Mean For Your Organization Laws and regulations are always getting passed and amended. This month, we are tackling a few regulatory updates that could be relevant to your organization and may affect how your organization operates. I’m not an attorney, so this shouldn’t be taken as legal advice, but be sure to evaluate if your organization needs to make some changes, or if you’ll need to seek out help to implement any changes. One hot topic that always seems to be changing and fluctuating is the minimum wage. While the federal minimum wage has stayed the same at $7.25, 29 states have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum. In the past couple years, many states have approved minimum wage hikes. In 2016, 14 states began the year with higher minimum wages, and states like California and New York passed laws that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. With more states adopting higher rates each year, and a push for higher wages at the federal level, your organization may be affected by a higher minimum wage sooner rather than later. Here’s what you need to know about minimum wage hikes, and what it could potentially mean for your organization. Is It Good Or Bad? While there is much debate about if a higher minimum wage will be good or bad for the economy, the Department of Labor debunked several minimum wage myths on their website, including the common fear that a higher wage will cause people to lose their jobs. More than 600 economists sent a letter to President Obama and other leaders giving the case for a minimum wage increase, saying: “The weight of evidence is now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market. Research suggests that a minimum wage increase could have a small stimulative effect on the economy as low-wage workers spend their additional earnings, raising demand and job growth, and providing some help on the jobs front.” While this may be true, there is also growing skepticism about raising the minimum wage, especially for small business owners. As more counties and states consider raising the minimum wage, keep in mind how it may affect your organization, and if you would need to make any changes. While the Department of Labor reports that overall raising the minimum wage doesn’t hurt businesses, it can vary from business to business, depending on the organization’s financial outlook and current employee wages. Be Prepared If a minimum wage hike is occurring in your county, then there are steps you can take to be prepared for when it goes into effect. It starts with knowing your expenses, so that you can decide how many employees you can afford and then think of innovative ways to cut costs and save money. It also impacts how you hire your employees. Since you’ll be paying them more, make sure that they are the right fit for your organization, and view them as an investment, not just another employee. Other ways to prepare are adjusting your pricing, revising your business strategy, and automating or outsourcing certain processes and tasks. Close To Home Here at Oasis, the minimum wage debate has hit home. Earlier this month, Polk County (Iowa’s largest county in regards to population, with 450,000 residents) approved to raise the local minimum wage to $10.75 by 2019. This is the first wage increase since 2008 when it was raised to $7.25, and Polk County officials are hoping that this compels the state of Iowa to consider raising the minimum wage, too. Oasis is located just outside of Polk County, so it doesn’t affect our organization, but we do have clients in Polk County, and it gives us the chance to closely observe the changes and the effects of the wage increase, and guide our clients through the process. Would a minimum wage increase impact your organization? Anne Barry Anne Barry is the Sr. HR Services Region Manager at Oasis. She possesses more than 13 years of HR and leadership experience, currently leading a team of HR professionals who help managers and employees navigate their HR challenges. She's best known for identifying unique employment-related challenges and working with her clients and team members to create a positive resolution. She earned her Master's degree in Public Administration from Drake University.