Posts Tagged ‘minimum wage’

Wage and hour roundup

Wage and hour roundup

Wage and hour roundup

  • Among this administration’s most notable accomplishments — hurrah for Labor Sec. Alex Acosta and team — is to ditch its predecessor’s horrible overtime rules [Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post on opinion letters and internships] DoL rollback of Obama rules on tip pooling is fully justified [Christian Britschgi]
  • “A Seattle Game-Changer? The latest empirical research further underscores the harm of minimum wage laws” [Ryan Bourne, Regulation mag] “Report: California’s $15 Minimum Wage Will Destroy 400,000 Jobs” [Scott Shackford]
  • It just couldn’t have been Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne’s fault that some donut-franchise workers saw benefits and breaks trimmed after a minimum wage hike. “Instead, she attacked the employers.” [David Henderson; Robyn Urback/CBC and May Warren/Toronto Metro on changes by owners of some Tim Horton outlets]
  • Study: grocery stores hike prices when minimum wage rises, “poor households are most negatively affected” [Tyler Cowen on Renkin, Montialoux, and Siegenthaler paper] New York enacts a minimum wage law applying to restaurant chains with at least 30 outlets, and presto-change-o, some upstate pizzerias have new names and are now separate businesses [Geoff Herbert, Syracuse.com]
  • “Employer Responsibilities under the Fair Labor Standards Act After a Disaster” [Annamaria Duran, SwipeClock, promotional material for software product but informative even so]
  • If lawsuits succeed in forcing ridesharing into employment mold, many will find it less attractive to earn money by driving [Coyote]

Wage and hour roundup

Labor and employment roundup

After many a workplace enactment, is D.C. experiencing mandate fatigue?

Washington, D.C. “Council Chairman Phil Mendelson …has proposed a moratorium through the end of 2018 on [labor-law] bills that would negatively affect businesses.” About time, too: “While D.C., like Seattle and San Francisco, has the slack to absorb large-scale folly thanks to its role in hosting a booming sector of today’s economy, it is not entirely immune from nearby competition, a few miles away in Virginia and Maryland.” Let’s hope this snaps the recent streak of employer mandate legislation in cities and states that see themselves as progressive. I discuss in my new Cato post.

Wage, hour, and pay roundup

“Maine tried to raise its minimum wage. Restaurant workers didn’t want it.”

A dozen servers at a Bangor steakhouse were relieved when the Maine legislature reversed plans to impose a high employer-paid wage on tipped workers. “I don’t need to be ‘saved,’ and I’ll be damned if small groups of uninformed people are voting on my livelihood,” said one. “James Dill, a college professor and the Democratic state senator from Maine’s 5th District, received hundreds of emails and phone calls from unhappy servers, he said. He initially voted for the ballot referendum because he supports a higher minimum wage. After the outcry, he signed onto a Republican measure to lower the tipped wage down again.” [Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post “Wonkblog”]

NBER: Seattle minimum wage hike hurt low-wage workers

A working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research by a University of Washington team — the same team hired by Seattle to evaluate its minimum-wage experiment — just found serious ill effects:

This paper evaluates the wage, employment, and hours effects of the first and second phase-in of the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance, which raised the minimum wage from $9.47 to $11 per hour in 2015 and to $13 per hour in 2016. Using a variety of methods to analyze employment in all sectors paying below a specified real hourly rate, we conclude that the second wage increase to $13 reduced hours worked in low-wage jobs by around 9 percent, while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent. Consequently, total payroll fell for such jobs, implying that the minimum wage ordinance lowered low-wage employees’ earnings by an average of $125 per month in 2016. Evidence attributes more modest effects to the first wage increase. We estimate an effect of zero when analyzing employment in the restaurant industry at all wage levels, comparable to many prior studies.

A Jonathan Meer post reprinted by Alex Tabarrok spells out just how bad that news is:

– The numbers of hours worked by low-wage workers fell by *3.5 million hours per quarter*. This was reflected both in thousands of job losses and reductions in hours worked by those who retained their jobs.

– The losses were so dramatic that this increase ‘reduced income paid to low-wage employees of single-location Seattle businesses by roughly $120 million on an annual basis.’ On average, low-wage workers *lost* $125 per month….

I know that so many people just desperately want to believe that the minimum wage is a free lunch. It’s not. These job losses will only get worse as the minimum wage climbs higher, and this team is working on linking to demographic data to examine who the losers from this policy are. I fully expect that these losses are borne most heavily by low-income and minority households.

But there’s more. When Seattle’s City Hall got word the adverse study was coming from members of its own research team, it quickly commissioned a pro-labor group at Berkeley to do a counter-study looking at restaurants and concluding that everything was peachy keen [Seattle Weekly] “Does City Hall really want to know the consequences, or does it want to put blinders on and pat itself on the back?” [Seattle Times editorial]

One other takeaway from the NBER: the low-wage-earner losses weren’t in restaurant jobs, which are far less mobile. Few Seattle city residents will switch to suburban eateries for everyday dining, even in response to relative shifts in cost or quality. But many blue-collar and clerical jobs can migrate to suburbs or locations farther away than that. In short, beware of restaurant-sector-only studies of local minimum wage effects, which will typically understate damage to hours worked.

More: Ben Casselman and Kathryn Casteel, Five Thirty-Eight; Max Ehrenfreund/Washington Post; Michael Saltsman/Forbes (“New Report Marks The Beginning Of The End For ‘Fight For $15′”); Ryan Bourne, Cato.