Unemployment has been on the rise since March at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic and it has exposed a factor of employment that many do not want to face. What might that be? Minimum wage and unemployment benefits are inadequate to say the least.
Local and federal governments along with employers have been complaining about the increased unemployment benefits and the impact it has made on the workforce since the pandemic caused many businesses to temporarily or permanently lay off workers. The fact is unemployment benefits are not the real problem, it is actually the factor of how much people are being paid.
Who would want to to work for hours to get small change they know will not be able to cover their bills (basic needs) when they know they need more and can get more? That is why so many people will not go back to work because unemployment may cover more of their basic needs. Let’s not forget, the unemployment benefits arent significant enough to the point where they will be ‘balling’, living lavish or above their means. These are people that have been living paycheck to paycheck with overdue bills and mounting debt.
The basic fact that minimum wage is not a living wage in today’s society raises a red flag.
A living wage is defined as the minimum income needed for food, shelter and other basic needs. Currently the living wage in the United States is $16.07 per hour. However, in most states the minimum wage falls way below that margin. In states such as Florida where the minimum wage is as low as $8.46 per hour and even worse in Alabama at $7.25 per hour many people do not make enough to cover their basic needs.
Essential workers such as Certified Nursing Assistants and Home Health Aids average a pay of $10 per hour which is not suffice for the care they provide.
Even more, our beloved bartenders minimum wage, minus tips, is a measly $2.23 in Delaware and $5.54 in Florida. Do you really believe someone can support a household or family on these wages?
The math is simple and the solution is clear, if you do not want to pay more in unemployment and want people to go back to work, the minimum wage must be raised to the rate of a living wage.