About 75% of U.S. organizations agree that the federal minimum wage should be increased, according to a new report from Payscale.
Although opponents tend to say that an increase would hurt small businesses, the report indicates that small organizations with fewer than 100 employees tend to be more in favor of the policy than large organizations with more than 50,000 employees (73% versus 69%).
“Opponents also often cite the negative impact it could have on hours, prices or the overall economy,” according to the report. “However, businesses that have raised their wage floor above minimum wage have anecdotally shared that, although they experience a surge in labor costs temporarily, it is rapidly offset by a reduction in turnover and increased engagement and morale, leading to more and better business.”
The federal minimum wage was last raised to $7.25 per hour in July 2009. Advocates for a higher minimum wage have called for action during presidential election years, and it’s expected to come up again next year.
“Controversy about the need to pass legislation to raise the federal minimum wage continues to exist,” according to the Payscale report. “Supporters for raising the federal minimum wage argue that doing so will help alleviate poverty, address income inequality, decrease the gender and racial pay gaps, ensure fair compensation for workers, and ultimately stimulate the economy by increasing incomes and enabling struggling families to spend more.”
More than a dozen states raised their minimum wage this year, with some changes already slated for the years to come. For instance, Hawaii increased its minimum wage from $10 per hour to $12 per hour in 2022, which will increase to $14 per hour in 2024, $16 per hour in 2026 and $18 per hour in 2028.
Major employers are also raising their hourly pay for employees this year. Walmart increased its minimum wage to $14 per hour, shifting its starting pay range from $12-$18 per hour to $14-$19 per hour. The increase boosted the company’s U.S. average hourly pay to around $17.50.
Along with discussions about minimum wage increases, total compensation packages appear to be growing as well. Like other companies, Walmart announced other pay- and benefits-related changes this year, such as higher-paying positions in auto care centers, as well as new college degrees, certificates and training opportunities in its employee education program. Employers are staying competitive by growing core health insurance benefits, increasing stipends for wellness programs and investing in more upskilling programs, alongside direct pay increases.