LIVINGSTON COUNTY – The new year will mean more money for those making minimum wage as it increases from $8 to $8.75.
The wage hike has yielded a mixed response from financial institutions and local business owners alike. Representatives with the Livingston County Office of Workforce Development said that the hike could potentially hurt some small businesses.
“One thing that impacts our office is that we now have to increase the pay of youths who work for us during activities, and have not received addtional funding to offset that cost,” said Ryan Snyder, Director of Workforce Development. “As far as a more global impact to the county, I know that it’s difficult for small businesses to absorb the additional cost without increasing the price of goods and services.”
However, some local businesses owners say that they don’t mind paying a little more, if it means a closer, more trusting relationship with employees.
“It’s about time,” said Soran Thomas, who opened a new comic book shop in October on Main Street Geneseo. “It’s very different for a every business, especially food places that have to deal with a very low profit margin and high volume, and really cannot pay six or ten employees that much. But me for example, I have always liked to pay people more than minimum wage. I’ve been in work situations where there’s a confrontational atmosphere with the employer, and I think a lot of that comes from penny pinching. Treat people right and and work together with employees.”
According to news partner 13WHAM, the wage could go up even higher if lawmakers pass another increase in the 2015 legislative session. Supporters of a higher wage are calling for a $10.10-per-hour minimum and want to give cities like New York the authority to raise it even more.
The wage is set to increase to $9 on Dec. 31, 2015.
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