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Monday, June 30, 2014

Companies act on their own to raise minimum wage

Posted By on Mon, Jun 30, 2014 at 7:18 AM

click to enlarge PAY LEADER: Costco's wages far exceed the minimum wage.
  • PAY LEADER: Costco's wages far exceed the minimum wage.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. The Arkansas minimum wage is $6.25 an hour. An Obama proposal to raise the federal minimum to $10.10 an hour seems dead in Congress, thanks mostly to the Republican House though even some Democrats, such as Sen. Mark Pryor, have resisted the $10.10 level. An Arkansas ballot initiative to raise the state minimum to $8.50 over two years is favored in polls and supported by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross and Pryor. Republican Asa Hutchinson opposes the ballot initiative.

That's backdrop to this roundup of private companies that aren't waiting for the government to increase the minimum wage it pays employees. Spurred by a recent announcement by Ikea, Huffington Post rounded up seven corporations where minimum starting pay is, or will be, well above the statutory minimum wage. Ikea's average minimum, pegged to market conditions for a "living" wage, will be $10.76 an hour. The Gap, Costco, In-And-Out Burger, Shake Shack, Ben and Jerry's and Whole Foods also have lifted the minimum for their employees.

Costco, as ever, is the standout, with starting pay of $11.50 an hour and average employee pay of $21 an hour, not including overtime. Costco welcomes unions in its employee ranks.

Here's a good explanation of Ikea's move

Using a living wage calculator to determine area salaries appears to be without precedence among major retailers. The new minimum wage will vary at each of Ikea's 38 stores — as well as its five distribution centers, two service centers and one manufacturing plant in the U.S. — depending on the cost of living in each location. Olson said none of the minimum wages will be set below $9 per hour, and those in the priciest markets will top $13.

In short, all of Ikea's workers next year will be paid more than the statutory minimum wage. Some other companies, which continue to have employees making no more than minimum wage, have tried to fuzz their own situations by using overall workforce average pay, not base pay for their employees. Don't be fooled.

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