Labor day increase in minimum wage making an impact on students’ lives

Labor day increase in minimum wage making an impact on students’ lives

With many students of legal employment age, West Bloomfield High School is filled with young people who work part time jobs year-round, most of which pay the Michigan minimum wage. On September 1st, 2014, the State of Michigan raised the minimum wage from $7.50 per hour to $8.15 per hour. It is part of legislation passed that will eventually raise the minimum wage to $9.25 by 2018.

A $0.65 increase may not seem like a huge change for young people, but imagine an extra sixty-five cents each hour when working 20 hours a week. That could be an extra $624 per year for doing no extra work, just by the state increasing how much minimum wage employees get paid.

Senior Michael Kolodin, who makes minimum wage at a local Hungry Howie’s restaurant, said, ”Obviously the minimum wage is helping me pay for many more things in life. Before, I only had the money for gas and food, but now I will be able to buy new things.”

Most students have received their first paycheck. “It’s going to be great,” says senior Collin Siminski, who works at a local grocery store, “it’s really going to make a difference in my day-to-day life.”

The last time the minimum wage in Michigan was raised was in 2008, when it was set at $7.40 per hour as opposed to the previous $7.15 per hour. It has consistently gone up over time– the original minimum wage in Michigan was $0.25 back when minimum wage was introduced back in 1938. That means this year’s increase from $7.50 to $8.15, a $0.65 increase, is over double the amount of the original minimum wage.

“A lot of people have been asking me about how much the minimum wage increase has affected my business,” says Karen Ropotos, local business owner of Greek Jalepeno, a restaurant in Waterford, Michigan.  “But it hasn’t; I’ve been working in the restaurant business for over 30 years, the minimum wage is always going up.”  How does the change in the minimum wage affect you?  Comment below.